MOHS Surgery

Mohs skin cancer surgery

‘The “Gold Standard” surgical method used worldwide for the most effective removal of skin cancers is Mohs surgery, which went through an extensive process of development in the United States of America,’ says Dr Pieter du Plessis, who is based at the Club Surgical Centre in Hazelwood, the Gauteng branch of the SkinMatters Mohs and Reconstruction Unit.

Mohs surgery is an economical, precise and sophisticated technique that eradicates skin cancers including eyelid skin cancers

‘What is critical about skin cancer is that you get rid of it completely, to minimise any chance of recurrence, and Mohs surgery does just that. After Mohs surgery you can assure the patient that the complete margins around the cancer are free of tumour,’ says Dr Johann de Wet, the dermatologist performing Mohs Surgery at the Summerhill Surgical Centre at the Western Cape branch of the Unit.

In summary, Mohs Micrographic surgery is the most cost-effective surgical skin cancer surgery available.

Find out more about What is Mohs Surgery?

how is mohs surgery performed?

explained visually

With the Mohs Surgery technique, performed in most cases under a local anaesthetic, the tumour is removed with a thin layer of surrounding healthy tissue. The removed tissue is then processed immediately by the Mohs surgeon in a Mohs histological laboratory on site, while the patient returns to the ward. See Mohs Surgery in pictures.

The specific method of processing allows tissue slides to be produced that shows the whole, complete cut surface around the tumour. These slides are then examined by the Mohs surgeon and will show very accurately any remaining tumour, including the exact area on the tumour wound where tumour is still present.

The patient then returns to the day theater and process is repeated, but only on the area of remaining tumour, leaving the healthy tumour-free part of the wound alone. As soon as the Mohs surgery confirms the skin cancer to be completely removed, a specialist reconstructive surgeon or the Mohs surgeon repairs the defect where the cancer was removed almost always on the same day.

More info on how MOHS Surgery is performed.

Mohs Micrographic Surgery is not required for the treatment of every skin cancer. Patients are seen for Mohs surgery by referral only.

The Skinmatters Mohs Micrographic Surgery unit functions as an extension of the referring medical practices. Referring practitioners successfully diagnose and treat the majority of skin cancer with the appropriate methods at their disposal, know the indications and criteria for Mohs Micrographic Surgery, and which patients to refer for this procedure.

Following successful Mohs Micrographic Surgery, all patients are referred back to the original referring practice, for subsequent follow-up and management of future skin disease.

Find out more about the outcomes of MOHS Micrographic surgery.

Mohs micrographic surgery

SkinMatters Mohs and Reconstructive Unit

The SkinMatters Mohs and Reconstruction Unit is dedicated to providing 21st century precision surgery in our ultra-modern specialist day hospitals situated at Club Surgical Centre in Gauteng and Summerhill Surgical Centre in the Western Cape. In these facilities of excellence, we offer Mohs Micrographic Surgery, the cutting-edge treatment for skin cancer.

Mohs Micrographic Surgery is a microscopically controlled surgical procedure used to treat skin cancer and was pioneered by American surgeon Dr. Frederick Mohs. Let us give you a glimpse into the international gold standard treatment for skin cancer, the technique known as Mohs Micrographic Surgery.

On the day of your consultation, you will visit the dermatologist performing the Mohs surgery. The experience is intended to be informative and reassuring so that you know exactly what to expect on the journey ahead. You will be welcomed by the reception staff into a professional and supportive environment. Mohs specialists Drs Pieter du Plessis, Nivana Ramlachan, Tshepo Mokwena and Johann de Wet will explain the Mohs procedure in detail, answer all your questions and book a suitable theatre date for you.

Your booking will be confirmed, and you will leave our rooms feeling positive about the upcoming treatment, knowing that Mohs surgery provides the highest cure rate of all available skin cancer treatments. Our efficient practice staff will contact your medical aid and arrange pre-authorization for the Mohs procedure. Theatre lists are set up and communicated to all key role players. Prior to the day of the operation, you will be contacted and provided with a time of admission, along with all the information you need on how to prepare for the day.

On the actual day of surgery, you will be welcomed by the friendly reception staff who will admit you into the hospital, leaving you in the capable, caring hands of our nursing team. In the ward every effort will be made to ensure that you are comfortable and are able to relax, knowing that you are receiving the best possible care. From there, you will be taken to theatre where the skin cancer will be excised with the Mohs technique under a local anaesthetic. Read more about the Mohs Histology procedure and animation.

After the procedure, you will return to the unhurried atmosphere of the ward, and while you rest and recover, the excised tissue will be taken to the Mohs Micrographic onsite laboratory where it will be mapped and prepared for processing by our specialist laboratory team. The process itself is a marvel of modern medicine and begins when a tissue block is embedded in Cryo-gel, ready for freezing. The freezing of the tissue block is achieved by using a state-of-the-art piece of equipment known as a Cryostat.

The frozen tissue block is then cut into thin wafers in the Cryostat by an experienced histotechnologist. The entire cut surface around the skin cancer is then examined microscopically for any remaining sign of skin cancer. It is this unique process that makes the Mohs Micrographic surgery the most accurate method of removing skin cancer. This process is then repeated until the entire tumour is removed from the excisional margins.

The final phase of treatment is the closure and reconstruction of the post-operative site. The reconstruction is usually performed on the same day by a specialist reconstructive surgeon, or the dermatologist performing the Mohs surgery. The specialist reconstruction often requires light sedation or a local anaesthetic to facilitate a comfortable procedure. After successful completion of the surgery and reconstruction, you will return to the ward to enjoy a light snack and refreshments before being discharged. Mohs Micrographic Surgery and Reconstruction for indicated skin cancers is a one-day patient procedure performed by a dedicated world-class team of specialists at the two branches at Club Surgical Center in Gauteng and Summerhill Surgical Centre in the Western Cape. Your skin matters to us.

We are committed to curing skin cancer and in the vast majority of cases we do just that. See the Introductory video to Mohs Surgery.