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My dermatologist is recommending Mohs surgery to remove a basal cell cancer on my nose. What does this involve?

Mohs micrographic surgery is named after Frederic Mohs, who developed the technique in the 1930s. It’s a specialized surgical procedure used to eliminate skin cancers that spread locally – but do not spread through the body – and are likely to return unless all the cancer is cut out.

The surgeon removes the cancerous tissue layer by layer, examining each layer under a microscope, until the outer edge of the removed layer – the margin – is free of cancer cells.

The surgery is performed under local anesthesia and typically takes two to four hours. Much of that time is spent waiting while the removed tissue is analyzed.

The good news is that the cure rate for basal cell skin cancers with Mohs surgery is close to 100 percent.