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What to Expect During Mohs Surgery

Most people who have been diagnosed with cancer anticipate a long, grueling treatment period that may include surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation. In the case of basal and squamous cell carcinomas, however, Mohs surgery can often be accomplished in a day.

Here at Plateroti Dermatology in Templeton, California, Dr. Carmelo Plateroti and our highly trained team provide cutting-edge care for all your dermatology and aesthetic needs. We use a specialized combination of Western medicine and holistic approaches for integrative care providing the best possible results. With over 30 years' experience, our group performs a wide range of services, including Mohs surgery for skin cancer.

Skin cancer

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the two most common types of skin cancer. Both begin in the skin's top layer and often result from exposure to the sun's damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. Melanoma occurs much less frequently, but can be more dangerous because of its ability to spread quickly if not diagnosed early.

Treatment plans are customized for the individual and their diagnosis, regardless of the type of skin cancer. Mohs surgery is often recommended for people with basal or squamous cell carcinoma when the cancer is fast-moving or large and/or is in an area without a lot of tissue under it like the nose, eyelid, ear, scalp, and more. It is also often used when the cancer has recurred. Mohs surgery can also be performed on several kinds of melanoma.

Mohs surgery process

Mohs surgery is typically done all in one day. The doctor removes a thin layer of cancerous tissue then examines all of the edges and underside under a microscope while the patient waits. If any cancer is detected in these areas, then the surgeon returns and repeats the process. 

This continues as many times as needed until the cancer cells are removed. Often it takes several hours, but can take longer, so patients should plan to clear the full day on their schedule.


There are a number of benefits to having Mohs surgery. The procedure is highly successful with up to 99% of people who have not undergone previous treatment being cured and up to 94% of those who have had a recurrence also experiencing success.

In addition, it is as minimally invasive as possible since the doctor only removes the area with cancer cells, allowing patients to keep as much healthy skin as possible. Finally, individuals are able to learn the results the same day as the procedure.

If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer and are seeking Mohs surgery — or if you have a suspicious spot you want to get examined — click our request appointment button today, or call us at 805-434-2526 to make an appointment.

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