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What is Mohs micrographic surgery?

The Most Effective Technique for Treating Skin Cancers

Mohs micrographic surgery is a unique method for treating skin cancer that allows complete evaluation of the excised tissue, provides the highest rates of tumor clearance, and often allows for smaller removals.

Traditional excision methods look at approximately 1% of the outer edges of the removed tissue (the “margins”), and incomplete removal of a cancer can lead to it recurring and needing to have a potentially larger and more complicated second procedure performed.

Dr. Jason Susong is fellowship-trained in Mohs Micrographic Surgery through an ACGME-accredited fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic, and it is important to find a dermatologist with fellowship training in this technique to achieve the high degree of success the procedure can provide.

Advantages of Mohs Surgery

Efficient and Cost Effective

  • Single-visit outpatient surgery options

  • Local anesthesia

  • Lab work done on-site

Precise Results

  • Clinician examines 100% tumor margins

  • Spares healthy tissue

  • Leaves the smallest possible scar

The Highest Cure Rate

  • Up to 99% for a skin cancer that has not been treated before

  • Up to 94% for a skin cancer that has recurred after previous treatment

What types of cancers can benefit from Mohs Surgery?


Most skin cancers that develop on the head and neck can be treated with Mohs surgery. This includes basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, as well as some more rare tumors. It is especially appropriate for skin cancers in areas where tissue sparing is needed for cosmetic outcome or function, cancers that have recurred following previous treatments, are large or ill-defined, or develop in individuals with suppressed immune systems (organ transplant recipients and others).

How long will it take?


This depends on the complexity of the skin cancer and the number of stages involved.  We endeavor to remove the skin cancer with as little healthy tissue as possible, and with the fewest number of layers or stages.  Most patients spend only a morning or afternoon with us, and we communicate with you along the way to ensure you stay in the loop.  You remain awake throughout the entire day and most people are able to drive after the procedure without difficulty (this primarily depends on how you are bandaged).

Will it hurt?


We are all allergic to pain!  We work very hard to make you comfortable in every way, and this especially includes pain control.  We use the smallest needles in common production (30 gauge), and take our time with anesthesia.  We use longer acting agents as well as nerve blocks when these are appropriate to keep you as comfortable as we possibly can.  Most patients note minimal pain, and do not require narcotics for pain control.

Will I have stitches? What will it look like? Will there be a scar?


Sometimes stitches are not required, but this depends on personal and surgical factors.  We will evaluate your wound together at the end of the cancer removal and discuss your options with you.  All cuts on the skin leave a scar to some extent, and it is important to make it as hidden as is possible.  For most people this involves a linear closure (a straight line) in an existing crease on the face.  Some people benefit from moving skin from a nearby source to cover the wound (a flap) or borrowing skin from a distant site (a graft).  This is a decision we will make together.  We perform the repair for more than 90% of our surgeries, and most patients prefer to have us repair their surgery wound.  Dermatology residency and in particular the Mohs fellowship involves a significant amount of complex reconstructive training, and this is in part why it is important to find a fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon and insist that they perform all aspects of your surgical care – start to finish!  Some patients prefer a plastic surgeon whom they already have a relationship with to repair their wound, and we are happy to work with them and you to coordinate this if this is your desire.  In some circumstances, the repair may also be beyond the capabilities of our office or scope of our practice and we will discuss this and be happy to help refer you to our wonderful surgical colleagues should this seem to be in your best interest.  You are our most important priority throughout this entire process, and we seek to have the best outcomes possible for you in terms of cure and cosmesis.

Making the Right Choice


Mohs Surgery is the gold standard for treating many basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). Not only is Mohs recommended for cosmetic and important areas around the eyes, lips, nose, ears, scalp fingers, toes, and genitals, but it is also recommended for large, aggressive, or rapidly growing BCCs or SCCs.

What to Expect


Examination and prep

Doctor highlighting skin cancer

A surgeon will prepare you for the examination by placing a drape cloth over your clothes, and injecting a local anesthesia into the around the BCCs or SCCs. At all times you are awake for the procedure, and may often wear comfortable clothes. The surgeon will talk you through everything that is taking place. Sometimes, a patient may need to put on a hospital gown, depending on the location of the BCCs or SCCs.  Once the area is completely numb, the surgeon will proceed to the next step.

Is Mohs right for me?


Mohs surgery is the gold standard for treating many basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), including those in cosmetically and functionally important areas around the eyes, nose, lips, ears, scalp, fingers, toes or genitals. Mohs is also recommended for BCCs or SCCs that are large, aggressive or growing rapidly, that have indistinct edges, or have recurred after previous treatment. Some surgeons are also successfully using Mohs surgery on certain cases of melanoma. To better understand the process, visit

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