Skin Cancer Treatment: The Main Advantages Of Mohs Surgery Vs Standard Excision

Posted on: 17 November 2022


Excision is often the first treatment used for any form of skin cancer and in the cases of early small or basal cell skin cancers, it might be the only treatment necessary for remission. Removal of skin cancer is often done with a standard excision, but your doctor might want to use Mohs surgery, which is another approach to excision. There are many advantages of using Mohs instead of a standard excision.


Mohs surgery helps conserve healthy skin in general, especially when treating more extensive cancers with a higher risk of recurrence. With a standard excision, the traditional practice is to remove extra skin around the area being excised. The goal is to remove all malignant cells. Since there is no way of knowing whether there are clear margins with a standard excision, treatment may need to be repeated if all the malignant cells were not removed. Since Mohs surgery involves frequent checks of the margins as skin is removed, it can be a better way to preserve healthy tissue since the doctor knows exactly when to stop — and repeat surgery is unlikely. Mohs surgery is important on larger areas of cancer or when they occur on visible areas, such as the face. Sparing as much healthy skin as possible can reduce the likelihood of the procedure being disfiguring. Your doctor may find limiting the amount of skin excised makes it easier to use a skin graft, if necessary.

More Effective

The most important advantage of Mohs surgery is the doctor can be more confident they have removed all the malignant cells, thereby making this form of excision more effective. Although there is no way to be 100% certain all malignant cells have been removed, frequently checking the borders as skin is removed will give patients the best chance at removing all the malignant cells located at the tumor site. Depending on the severity and type of skin cancer, additional treatment may be necessary, even with clear margins. Some skin cancers, such as melanoma are more aggressive and could have metastasized beyond the primary tumor, even if it appears all the tumor was removed during the excision. High-risk skin cancers are typically treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Early, aggressive treatment might be critical for these types of skin cancer.

Excision is critical in the treatment of all types of skin cancer, but your doctor will decide which approach is best. Since Mohs is more precise, there is a better chance of removing all malignant cells while reducing disfigurement, especially on the face. To learn more about Mohs surgery, contact a dermatologist in your area.