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Mohs Surgery vs. Excision: What’s the Difference?

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Surgeons performed Mohs surgery

Two of the most common skin cancer treatments are Mohs surgery and excision. Let's explore their similarities and differences to help you decide which treatment is best for you.

What is Mohs surgery?

In Mohs surgery, a thin layer of skin containing cancer cells is removed and examined under a microscope by a dermatologist.

The process is repeated until all cancer cells have been removed from the area. If any cancer cells remain in the tissue, another layer of skin is removed and examined.

As such, Mohs surgery is often used for hard-to-reach areas or for larger tumors that cannot be removed with traditional excision techniques.

This method allows maximum tumor removal while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible.

What is excision?

Excision (also known as wide local excision) involves removing a wider area of affected skin than with Mohs surgery. It's commonly used to treat smaller tumors or areas where healthy tissue can be preserved without compromising results.

In an excision procedure, the surgeon will remove the visible tumors and some healthy tissue surrounding the tumor to eliminate all cancer cells completely.

Since there is no need to check for residual tumor cells after the procedure, this approach typically requires fewer follow-up visits than Mohs surgery.

Which option is right for me?

Your doctor may recommend one option over another, depending on your situation.

Several factors will determine which treatment option is the most appropriate for you, including tumor size, location, type, and patient preference.

The Mohs procedure may be recommended if you have a larger or more complex tumor since it provides better removal results while preserving healthy tissue.

For smaller or simpler tumors, excision may be more cost-effective and convenient.


a dermatologist at Dermatology and Skin Health

The two main approaches to treating skin cancer are Mohs surgery and excision, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

Dermatology & Skin Health can advise you on which option will provide the best outcome based on factors such as the location and size of the tumor, as well as your overall health.

You can rest assured that both approaches will effectively treat most skin cancer cases when performed by our experienced medical professionals.

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