Mohs Surgery (cont.)
Nili N. Alai, MD, FAAD
Dr. Alai is an actively practicing medical and surgical dermatologist in south Orange County, California. She has been a professor of dermatology and family medicine at the University of California, Irvine since 2000. She is U.S. board-certified in dermatology, a 10-year-certified fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, and Fellow of the American Society of Mohs Surgery.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS)? Why is the procedure called Mohs?
- Where can I have Mohs surgery, and how long does the surgery take?
- What kind of physician can perform Mohs surgery? Where can I find a doctor board-certified in Mohs?
- Is Mohs only for skin cancer?
- Am I a good candidate for Mohs surgery?
- What if I have artificial joints or other health issues?
- What areas are treatable by Mohs surgery?
- What are possible complications of Mohs?
- What is reconstruction? Will I have a scar?
- What are alternatives for Mohs surgery?
- What about insurance coverage and costs?
- How do I prepare for my surgery?
- How is recovery? Is it painful?
- How do I take care of my surgical area after Mohs surgery?
- What is the chance that my cancer will recur?
- How many "levels" of Mohs will I need?
- How are skin cancers treated?
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
Where can I have Mohs Surgery, and how long does the surgery take?
Mohs micrographic surgery is usually performed in an outpatient setting like a doctor's office and under local anesthetic (lidocaine). Sometimes the procedure may be performed in an outpatient surgical center with the assistance of an anesthesiologist. Rarely, it is performed in an inpatient hospital setting.
You are generally in the medical office for several hours (average two to seven hours) on the day of your Mohs procedure. Depending on how large or difficult your skin cancer is, different numbers of levels may be required to achieve clearance. Mohs requires your patience and your doctor's careful effort and skill. It is not always possible to predict ahead of time how many hours your specific procedure will take. Most patients leave their day's schedule open to allow for adequate time to complete their Mohs.
What kind of physician can perform Mohs surgery? Where can I find a doctor board-certified in Mohs?
Most Mohs surgeons are specially-trained dermatologists. There are also some plastic surgery, or ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgeons who are also trained to perform Mohs.
There is no current board certification for Mohs surgery. There are two nationally recognized and respected national Mohs specialty groups called the American College of Mohs Surgery and the American Society for Mohs Surgery (ASMS).
Both of these medical groups have specialty training and certification exams for their members. Members of the American College of Mohs Surgery usually have completed an additional one to two years of Mohs training. Members of the American Society for Mohs Surgery are also trained and required to actively participate in an annual quality control Mohs slide peer review.
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