How Mohs Surgery Works

At our Harley Street clinic, we can carry out Mohs surgery on our patients. Find out what it is, why it’s effective and risks and advantages of treatment in today’s blog post.


What is Mohs surgery?


It’s a surgical procedure that aims to treat skin cancer. It works by stripping the skin back, thin layer by thin layer, until there is no longer any sign of cancer. Only affected tissue is treated.

Why have Mohs surgery?


Without medical care, cancer can spread. And in the case of skin cancer, it can spread beyond the skin and into the organs of the body. With Mohs surgery, the healthy tissue around the treated area isn’t touched. Also, taking skin layer by layer makes it more likely for cancer to be cured.

What cancer can Mohs surgery treat?


The skin cancer is treated as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, together with melanoma.

how mohs surgery works

Who is a candidate for surgery?


Those who have a high risk of returning cancer, as well as those with cancer that is large or fast-growing. It’s often recommended for cancers that are hard to define, and in places of the body where you want to keep healthy tissue.

Is the surgery painful?


Mohs surgery might sound painful, but a numbing agent is used beforehand to reduce sensation in the treated area. The surgery is carried out carefully to minimise discomfort.

Are there risks to surgery?


Yes. It’s possible to have bleeding, pain, infection and tenderness in or around the treated area after Mohs surgery. There is also the potential for numbness or muscle weakness in the area, depending on how deep the surgery goes, as nerve endings lie within the skin. Depending on the size of the treated area, scarring may also be possible.

How do I prepare for surgery?


You’ll need to allow yourself time for the procedure and any recovery you may need. Wear comfortable, loose clothing and try to bring a book or activity to take your mind off the procedure. Most people are able to eat before the surgery, however, some medicines may interfere with the body’s healing process and you’ll need to clear these first.


How long does mohs surgery take?


It can take a number of hours, and even return visits, to successfully treat the area. During your consultation, we can advise on timescales more accurately.


What happens to the tissue that’s removed?


It’s checked for signs of cancer. If cancer is detected, more layers of the skin may need to be removed. The wound is then either left to heal, stitched up, or covered with a skin graft (depending on depth).


What’s my next step?

Book a consultation for Mohs surgery at our Harley Street skin clinic. We’ll be able to offer advice and information from there, and arrange the surgery on your schedule.