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Mohs Surgery Specialist

Dermatology Institute & Skin Care Center

Cosmetic, Medical, & Surgical Dermatologists & Research Clinic located in Santa Monica, CA

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are common types of cancer that can be halted effectively with the gold-standard in skin cancer treatment — Mohs surgery. This specialized surgical treatment is offered at Dermatology Institute & Skin Care Center in Santa Monica, California, by board-certified dermatologist Paul Yamauchi, MD, PhD. If you suspect you have skin cancer, don’t delay in making an appointment for evaluation and possible Mohs surgery. Call or schedule online today.

Mohs Surgery Q & A

What is Mohs surgery?

Skin cancer occurs more often than any other type of cancer. Mohs surgery can cure certain types of skin cancer and minimize scarring.

Mohs surgery is an outpatient procedure with a 99% success rate. During the procedure, your provider removes very thin layers of affected skin. At each stage, they examine the removed skin to determine if any cancer cells remain. The procedure only removes cancerous tissue and preserves healthy tissue.

Mohs surgery can be used on skin cancer that appears just about anywhere. Because Mohs surgery results in less scarring than traditional surgery, it’s especially effective on facial skin cancers.

Which types of skin cancer does Mohs surgery treat?

Mohs surgery is effective on the two most common types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), as well as early stages of melanoma.

Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinomas often develop due to excessive sun exposure. 

It can show up as red, flaky patches of skin, small transparent bumps, or scar-like lesions with a waxy appearance. 

Basal cell carcinomas grow slowly but can spread into the deep layers of your skin and cause significant tissue damage.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma typically develops as a result of repeated sun exposure and UV light. 

SCC is slow-growing, but if not treated, it can spread to nearby tissues, bones, and lymph nodes. 

Squamous cell carcinoma usually looks like scaly, crusty patches of red skin or small bumps.


Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. If you have an unusual mole that grows in size, has irregular borders, or changes colors, you need evaluation and treatment right away. 

If melanoma spreads or extends deep into the skin, Mohs surgery is not enough to treat the cancer, and you may need chemotherapy or immunotherapy.

What should I expect during Mohs surgery?

During Mohs surgery at Dermatology Institute & Skin Care Center, you’ll receive a local anesthetic at the area of your biopsy and suspicious lesion. Once your provider cleans and numbs the area, they remove the cancerous tissue layer by layer using a scalpel.

Your provider processes each layer of removed tissue with special dyes that help determine if the cancer spread to areas not visible to the naked eye. If more cancerous cells are detected, your provider removes additional layers of tissue until the cancer is gone.

After removing all of the cancer, your provider may close the wound with stitches or leave it open to heal on its own. You’re sent home with care instructions so you can minimize any scarring at the surgical site.

If you’ve received a diagnosis of skin cancer or have a suspicious lesion, make an appointment at Dermatology Institute & Skin Care Center. Call or use the online tool to schedule today.