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Skin Cancer

Mohs Surgery in Beverly Hills

Posted on: October 20th, 2017 by Dr. Jennifer Herrmann

There is no such thing as a healthy tan. Whether you lay out at the beach or tan indoors, you are at risk. Sun exposure is the greatest risk factor for nonmelanoma skin cancers: basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and for the most dangerous form of skin cancer: malignant melanoma.

According to Skincancer.org, every year in the U.S. over 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer are diagnosed and treated. And, a new study reports that melanoma rates in California are rising.

80% of skin cancers appear on the head and neck. Skin cancers on the face can cause local tissue destruction, compromise function and cause disfigurement. Mohs Micrographic Skin Cancer Surgery, a way to completely remove skin cancer with the highest cure rate, is especially beneficial where skin cancer is found on the eyelids, nose, ears, lips, scalp, neck, shins, hands and feet.

Mohs surgery is also valuable for recurrent skin cancers, skin cancers containing scar tissue, large skin cancers, skin cancers where the borders are not clearly defined, skin cancers that are aggressive and spreading, and skin cancers that show unusual growth patterns.

Although a skin biopsy sample lets us make a diagnosis of skin cancer, the biopsy often only samples the very surface of the cancer. Visible skin cancer lesions are just the tip of the iceberg. To assure all the cancerous tissue is removed, the surgeon must excise tissue deep below the skin’s surface. The most accurate, cost-effective, and minimized scarring way to do this is by using Mohs Micrographic Skin Cancer Surgery.

What is Mohs Surgery?

Mohs surgery is microscopic surgery used to treat skin cancer. Mohs surgery is named after Dr. Frederic Mohs, who developed the surgical technique in the 1930’s, and the procedure has been refined and improved over the decades.

Mohs surgery is the gold standard for skin cancer treatment. Under local anesthesia, the Mohs surgeon gradually removes the cancer layer by layer until the patient is cancer-free. Mohs surgery removes only cancerous tissue, and preserves as much healthy skin as possible. Mohs surgery is the skin cancer treatment with the highest reported cure rate because all of the skin edges are checked for cancer roots during the procedure. For most skin cancers, the cure rate is 98-99%. It is the single, most effective technique for removing basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, the two most common types of skin cancer. Patients can have the tumor removed and the wound repaired all in a single day at our Mohs Surgery Center in Beverly Hills.

The Mohs Surgery technique allows for removal of thin layers, that are studied under a microscope to evaluate the presence of cancer cells. Once a layer is reached where the margins of the tissue are cancer-free, the surgery is complete. This technique eliminates any guesswork in the skin cancer removal process, and generates unmatched treatment results for each patient.

The Advantages of Mohs Surgery in Beverly Hills

  • Mohs spares normal healthy tissues, particularly where there is not a lot of tissue to work with.
  • Mohs preserves healthy tissue, which minimizes scars, improved normal function and yields the best cosmetic results.
  • Mohs is performed under local anesthesia for patient safety.
  • Mohs does not cause significant paint in most patients.
  • Small incisions create smaller wounds, which improves healing and reduces scarring.
  • Mohs provides the lowest recurrence rates, highest cure rates and best cosmetic results of any skin cancer treatment.

Compare Mohs and General Excision Surgery for Skin Cancer

When you suspect a problem, you visit your dermatologist who will biopsy the suspicious lesion, and send it to a pathology lab to confirm a diagnosis. A week later, the lab report establishes the diagnosis, and the best treatment options can be discussed.

Excisional surgery involves the surgical removal of the cancerous tissue. The removed tissue is then sent to the lab to determine if any cancer cells remains. Meanwhile, the wound is sutured and the patient is sent home. If the lab report shows margins (an edge of where the skin piece was removed) are involved, the wound needs to be reopened, and the excisional surgery repeated.

Excisional surgery creates a larger wound than Mohs surgery, because it requires the surgeon to guess at the depth of the roots of the cancer. Because only about 1/1000th of the actual margin is examined, the surgeon much account for sampling error and remove a larger piece of skin with bigger margins. Mohs surgery eliminates the guesswork. The surgeon can remove all the cancer cells while sparing as much normal, healthy tissue as possible, keeping the wounds as small as possible.

Mohs surgery is considered to be the most effective technique to treat most basal and squamous cell cancers. And, in many situations Mohs surgery is highly effective for the removal of shallow melanoma skin cancers.

Mohs Surgeons in Beverly Hills

A Mohs surgeon is specially trained in the Mohs surgical technique, pathology and reconstructive surgery. The Mohs surgeon acts as both the surgeon and the pathologist, examining 100% of the tissue margins to ensure clearance of the cancer while minimizing the sacrifice of healthy skin.

At Moy, Fincher, Chipps Facial Plastics & Dermatology in Beverly Hills, Encino and Torrance, California, all our physicians are skin cancer experts, and Mohs Surgeons. They are board – certified, and fellowship – trained in Mohs micrographic surgery, and cosmetic plastic reconstructive surgery. All of them underwent rigorous extra training to be confident treating the most challenging skin cancers and producing the best cosmetic outcomes.

The number of skin cancer cases in people under age 40 is increasing quickly. Don’t wait. If you notice a suspicious lesion, call the Mohs surgeons at Moy, Fincher, Chipps Facial Plastics & Dermatology in Beverly Hills for expert care. Even if you have no concerns about skin cancer, an annual skin checkup is important to better understand the baseline health of your skin and identify risk factors and learn about our comprehensive approach to skin cancer prevention. All of our doctors specialize in skin cancer prevention, early detection and the highest cure-rate treatments.


“Continued increase in melanoma incidence across all socioeconomic status groups in California, 1998-2012.” http://www.jidonline.org/article/S0022-202X(17)31867-5/pdf

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