Mohs Surgery

James H. Petrin, MD -  - Board Certified Dermatologist

Petrin Dermatology

James H. Petrin, MD

Board Certified Dermatologist located in Redmond, WA

Getting diagnosed with skin cancer is a frightening possibility for anyone who spends time in the sun. Mohs surgery, provided by the Dr. James Petrin and the other expert dermatologists at Petrin Dermatology in Redmond, Washington, remove all of the cancerous cells from your skin while leaving the rest of your skin and the underlying tissues intact. To find out if Mohs surgery is a possibility for your skin cancer treatment, call Petrin Dermatology or book an appointment online today.

Mohs Surgery

What is Mohs surgery?

Mohs surgery is one of many available treatments for certain types of skin cancer. Upon getting a skin cancer diagnosis, you may have feelings of fear or uncertainty about the next steps. 

While some treatments seem invasive or risky, Mohs surgery allows your dermatologist to remove as many of the cancerous cells as possible while leaving your surrounding healthy skin unscathed. 

Even though Mohs surgery is a surgical procedure, it’s simple and minimally invasive enough that you can leave the office immediately after the surgery ends. However, you should be prepared to stay for several hours since your dermatologist can’t predict how long it will take to remove the cancerous lesion several cells at a time.

How does Mohs surgery work?

Mohs surgery is similar to standard surgery whereby the lesion is physically removed from your skin. However, this procedure is more involved and precise.

Before the surgical process begins, your dermatologist injects the area around your skin cancer with a local anesthetic to numb it. Once the anesthetic kicks in, they use a scalpel to remove a razor-thin layer of the cancerous lesion. Then, they place a bandage over the lesion temporarily.

As you sit and wait, your dermatologist takes the removed portion of cancerous cells to the laboratory to view it under a microscope in portions. They make a map to remember the positioning of each portion and use it to determine where the cancerous cells are and which parts need to be removed.

This process is repeated until your dermatologist no longer sees any cancerous cells under the microscope. If it takes long enough for the anesthetic to wear off, they inject more to keep your skin numb.

When is Mohs surgery an option?

Despite being highly successful in fully curing skin cancer, Mohs surgery isn’t the best treatment strategy for all instances. Your dermatologist at Petrin Dermatology may recommend Mohs surgery if you have basal cell carcinoma (BCC) or squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), two of the most common types of skin cancer. 

Mohs surgery is a particularly fitting treatment option when the cancerous lesion:

  • Is large
  • Has blurred borders
  • Is aggressive
  • Reappeared after an initial removal
  • Is on an area of thin skin, like your ear or eyelid


Even if your skin cancer isn’t BCC or SCC, Mohs surgery may still be an option. Your dermatologist chooses the best course of action based on your skin cancer’s characteristics.

To find out if you can remove your skin cancer and get peace of mind with Mohs surgery, book a consultation at Petrin Dermatology by phone or online today.