Mohs surgery, developed in 1938 by a general surgeon, Frederic E. Mohs, is microscopically controlled surgery used to treat common types of skin cancer. During the surgery, after each removal of tissue and while the patient waits, the tissue is examined for cancer cells. That examination dictates the decision for additional tissue removal. Mohs surgery is the gold standard method for obtaining complete margin control during removal of a skin cancer using frozen section histology. Mohs surgery allows for the removal of a skin cancer with very narrow surgical margin and a high cure rate.
The cure rate with Mohs surgery cited by most studies is between 97% and 99.8% for primary basal-cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer. Mohs procedure is also used for squamous cell carcinoma, but with a lower cure rate. Recurrent basal-cell cancer has a lower cure rate with Mohs surgery, more in the range of 94%. It has been used in the removal of melanoma-in-situ (cure rate 77% to 98% depending on surgeon), and certain types of melanoma (cure rate 52%).