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Mohs Surgery Specialist

Dermatology Surgical And Medical

Michael R. Lerner, MD

Dermatologist located in Bankers Hill, San Diego, CA

Mohs surgery is a procedure used to treat skin cancers on the face, neck and hands. Dr. Lerner is a certified Mohs dermatologist and can perform this procedure for patients in San Diego, California.

Mohs Surgery Q & A

What Is Mohs surgery?

Mohs surgery is a type of surgery performed using continual microscopic evaluation to ensure a cancerous lesion is completely removed while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible.  The technique was developed more than 70 years ago and is still considered the preferred approach for the treatment of many types of skin cancers, especially those that occur on the face or other visible areas.  Mohs surgery is used to ensure the smallest possible scar will be left.

What happens during the procedure?

Mohs surgery begins with administration of a local anesthetic to numb the area around the lesion. ONce the area is numb, the doctor will remove the visible part of the lesion and hand it to a Mohs technician in-office for immediate processing.  Then the doctor with evaluate the specimen under a microscope to ensure that all cancerous material has been removed. If there are cancerous cells extending beyond the edge of the tissue, the doctor will remove more tissue and evaluate the new sample.  This process can occur many times until all of the edges, or borders are cancer-free. Then the incision site will be closed, cauterized or packed, depending on the size and location.

Can Mohs surgery tell if my cancer has spread?

No.  In more aggressive cancers that are known to spread, such a melanoma, your doctor may recommend having your lymph nodes biopsied, or undergoing other diagnostic procedures to ensure that the cancer has not spread elsewhere.

Will I be able to drive home after the procedure?

Yes.  Mohs surgery only requires a local anesthetic, so you should be able to drive yourself to and from the appointment.