What is Mohs Micrographic Outpatient Surgery?
Mohs Micrographic Surgery is the most advanced and effective skin cancer treatment procedure available today. As the most exact and precise method of tumor removal, it minimizes the chance of cancer recurrence and lessens the potential for scarring or disfigurement.
This outpatient procedure utilizes a microscope, mapping, and marking to evaluate 100% of the skin margin. With the Mohs technique, your physician is able to see beyond the visible disease and to perform a systematic microscopic search that tracks skin cancer down to its roots. It offers the highest chance for identification and complete removal of the skin cancer while sparing the surrounding healthy tissue.
Why Does My Skin Cancer Need Mohs Surgery?
Mohs Surgery is appropriate when:
- The cancer is in an area where it is important to preserve healthy tissue for maximum functional and cosmetic result, such as eyelids, nose, ears, lips, fingers, toes, genitals
- The cancer was treated previously and recurred
- Scar tissue exists in the area of the cancer
- The cancer is large
- The edges of the cancer cannot be clearly defined
- The cancer is growing rapidly or uncontrollably
What are the advantages of Mohs Micrographic Surgery?
- Cure rate: Mohs Surgery has the highest cure rate of any comparable procedure (99%)
- Low impact: The Mohs procedure has the lowest functional and cosmetic morbidity
- Convenience: This outpatient procedure uses local anesthesia in a comfortable, easily accessible facility
- Economy: Mohs surgery is highly cost-effective compared to other surgical options
What can I expect if I am scheduled for Mohs Surgery?
Please visit the ACMS website at for a wonderful 8 minute Patient Education video: View Video
Who will perform my Mohs Micrographic Outpatient Surgery?
The procedure is performed by specially trained dermatologic surgeons who have completed certified fellowship training under a regulated director in one of the 40 programs nationwide. Membership in the American College of Mohs Surgery (ACMS) is your assurance that your physician is experienced and reliable. Joe Cvancara, MD, Chadd Sukut, MD, and Joel Sears, MD are fellowship-trained ACMS dermatologic surgeons and the only Mohs surgeons with this accreditation in the Inland Northwest.
Because your physician is specially trained in surgery, pathology, and reconstruction, Mohs surgery has the highest success rate of all treatments for skin cancer. Clinical studies conducted at various national and international medical institutions including the Mayo Clinic, the University of Miami School of Medicine, and Royal Perth Hospital in Australia demonstrate that Mohs surgery provides five-year cure rates which exceed 99 percent for new cancers, and 95 percent for recurrent cancers.
(This Article was featured in the August 2013 issue of the Spokane County Medical Society Newsletter.) In 2012, the ten-person team at Advanced Dermatology and Skin Surgery saw 22 patients under Project Access. That would be a remarkable donation in itself, but it represents only what we’ve asked of them, not a limit on their willingness to give. Advanced Dermatology has never turned a Project Access client down. This is a testament both to Project Access’s dedication to referring only those patients who qualify and to Advanced Dermatology’s commitment to providing care for those in need. It must be mentioned here that this is also due to the generosity of our other dermatology partners, including Dermatology Specialists of Spokane, Dermatology Associates of Spokane, Northwest Dermatology and Spokane Dermatology Clinic, all of whom pledge to Project Access. The generosity of those providers means that Project Access can grow in leaps and bounds without capacity concerns in this specialty area.
A Client’s Story
In March of 2012, Jack Scheirholz went for a routine checkup at Spokane Falls Family Clinic that resulted in the diagnosis of a lesion on his nose as a probable basal cell carcinoma. Jack was uninsured and collecting unemployment at the time, with a weekly benefit amount of $195—$10,140 per year—leaving him with few options for treatment. Spokane Falls Family Clinic referred Jack to Project Access and we received his application in early April. He was immediately approved for a specialist referral. Spokane Falls Family Clinic conducted a biopsy of the lesion on April 19 and confirmed a diagnosis of cancer. Jack was referred to Advanced Dermatology through Project Access and had his first appointment on May 8. Dr. Cvancara and his team removed the cancer shortly thereafter. When we contacted Jack a year later, he said that everything had “healed up beautifully.” “You can hardly even tell that anything happened there.”
We asked Jack about his experience with Advanced Dermatology. “Dude, those guys are awesome,” he said. “I’ve spent my life helping people and I never expected anyone to step up and help me like that.” In the year since Jack’s surgery, he has been unflinching in his desire and willingness to give back in any way he can, saying “we’ve gotta take care of each other, man.” Jack is currently working on starting up a non-profit hot dog cart to benefit wounded warriors. He’s going to call it “Veteran Dogs.”