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Mohs Surgery

What is Mohs Surgery?

Mohs Surgery, also known as Mohs Micrographic Surgery, is a specific surgical procedure that helps in the treatment of skin cancer. The procedure involves progressively removing layers of cancer-affected skin and examining it. The process is continued until your skin is entirely cancer free.

The objective of the procedure is to eliminate as much of the cancer-affected skin as possible, while causing minimal damage to the surrounding tissue. The procedure is carried out on an outpatient basis.

Mohs Surgery is superior to other standard procedures such as local excision. Local excision is considered less ideal as it not only removes cancer-affected portions of the skin, but also much of the surrounding healthy skin. This is why we chose Mohs surgery for the treatment of skin cancer patients.

Another advantage with Mohs Surgery is that it allows your doctor/surgeon to verify and ensure that the cancer cells have truly been removed. If all cancer cells have been removed, the chances of an absolute recovery increase. This, in turn, minimizes your need for further treatment in the future.

Deal with Skin Cancer in the Most Effective Manner

Coping with skin cancer can be challenging and may seem very daunting to those affected by it. At Dermaclinique, we understand the concern that accompanies the diagnosis of skin cancer, and we also understand the importance of finding a medical professional who is experienced and has proven results in the treatment of skin cancer.

Dr. Nayyar completed a vigorous fellowship in Mohs surgery and has performed thousands of successful skin cancer surgeries. She has published several articles and book chapters on advanced surgical techniques, including grafts.  With her extensive training and experience, she is arguably the best Doctor for Mohs surgery St. Petersburg has to offer.

when is mohs surgery appropriate?

Mohs surgery is most commonly used to treat squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. But there have been cases where the procedure has been followed for treating melanoma and other rare skin cancers.

Typically speaking, Mohs Surgery is useful in treating skin cancers that:

  • Come with a high risk of recurrence or have already recurred.
  • Have hard-to-define borders.
  • Are aggressive or large.
  • Are located in areas such as the mouth, nose, ears, eyes, hairline, genitals, feet, and hands, as these are areas where the need to preserve healthy tissue is very significant.

Selecting the Right Mohs Surgeon

When choosing a doctor to carry out your Mohs Surgery, it is important to find a surgeon who is certified and experienced and who has performed many successful treatments.

While most dermatologists learn about Mohs Surgery as part of their basic training, only some undergo specialized training and become expert at treating skin cancer at Dermaclinique.

When it comes to Mohs Surgery in St. Petersburg and the Tampa area, not all dermatologists are alike and you will want to choose one who specializes in this field.

Dr. Nayyar is board-certified and has completed a fellowship as a procedural dermatologist. She has years of experience treating patients for various skin ailments and has carried out numerous successful Mohs Surgeries.

Mohs Surgery St. Petersburg

Preparation for Mohs Surgery

Dr. Nayyar will offer you some advice regarding preparation for the procedure. This might include stopping certain types of medication. If you are on medication, please let Dr. Nayyar know during your consultation.

Even supplements may need to be stopped, especially ginger, gingko or vitamin E.  These supplements have been known to increase bleeding after the procedure, which can slow down or inhibit the healing process. Please inform Dr. Nayyar about any other supplements you may be taking prior to your treatment.

Dr. Nayyar will let you know if there are prescription medications that you are not required to stop.

Apart from stopping medications, you will be asked to clear time in your schedule. Mohs Surgery generally lasts 4 hours, but it may be recommended to free up a full day, as the exact duration can vary.

You will be asked to wear comfortable clothing as well. Bring additional clothing so that you can adapt to the room temperature as needed.

Finally, bring something to help time pass faster.  There will be some periods of waiting before and during the procedure. So, a book or magazine can be beneficial during your wait.

What to Expect During Mohs Surgery

Mohs Surgery is carried out on an outpatient basis inside an operation room. However, these rooms are typically located next to a laboratory to examine the removed tissue immediately.

As stated earlier, the procedure typically lasts about 4 hours. But it can take longer because there is no way to determine the extent of the skin cancer by merely looking at it. It has to undergo an examination in the lab.

You may not be required to wear a surgical gown but if the tumor is in a location that cannot be accessed easily, you will be asked to switch into a surgical dress. Once that’s done, the nurse or Dr. Nayyar will clean and outline the area being treated with a pen. Then, she will inject a local anesthetic. The anesthesia will numb the skin and prevent you from experiencing pain during the process.

Once that’s done, Dr. Nayyar will use the scalpel to remove the visible portion of cancer. She will also remove a layer of tissue underneath the tumor. This layer of tissue is usually more extensive than the tumor itself.

The incision is then covered with a temporary bandage, and the removed tumor and tissue are sent to the laboratory for analysis. This is the most time-consuming phase of the procedure. You may have to wait for about an hour or so. Try to make use of this time by reading the book or magazine your brought along or by even getting yourself a meal. However, you cannot leave the surgeon’s office until the end of the procedure.

Dr. Nayyar will cut the sample into various sections and have her technician examine it under a microscope. She will track every spot from where the tissue was removed. This allows her to determine the exact spot from where the surgery needs to be continued if more cancer is detected.

This way, Dr. Nayyar will keep removing more tissue until she can confidently determine that there are no more cancerous cells left.

Before & After


Recovery and Post-Procedure Care

Following complete cancer removal, the defect is reconstructed in the utmost cosmetically elegant fashion. As a highly acclaimed reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Nayyar will typically hide scars in natural skin lines and folds to ensure the best cosmetic outcome with very little scarring. There are times when a skin graft or skin flap is required based on certain locations and in certain cases.

After the surgery, a pressure dressing is placed on the wound. You will be instructed to keep the area dry for 24-48 hours. Post-surgical minor bleeding, bruising, pain, and tenderness are common the first 24-48 hours. You are advised to avoid strenuous activities and rest during the healing period.

Certain medications may be prescribed following your procedure and additional follow-up is made to ensure optimal healing of your skin. Follow the instructions provided with care for a quick recovery.

Mohs Surgery FAQs

What is Mohs surgery, and how does it work?

Mohs surgery is a precise technique for treating skin cancer. It involves systematically removing thin layers of cancerous tissue, which are examined under a microscope. This process is repeated until no cancer cells remain, ensuring minimal damage to healthy tissue.

Is Mohs surgery painful?

Local anesthesia is administered before the procedure, so patients typically experience minimal discomfort during Mohs surgery. Some may feel a slight stinging sensation during the numbing process, but the surgery itself is generally painless.

How long does Mohs surgery take?

The duration of Mohs surgery varies depending on the size and location of the skin cancer. On average, the procedure can last between two to four hours. However, patients should be prepared for the possibility of spending a full day at the surgical center due to the time needed for tissue examination.

Will I have a scar after Mohs surgery?

Mohs surgery aims to minimize scarring and preserve as much healthy tissue as possible. However, some scarring is inevitable, particularly for larger or more complex cases. The surgeon will try to ensure the scar is as inconspicuous as possible, and additional treatments like wound closure techniques may be utilized.

What is the recovery process like after Mohs surgery?

Following Mohs surgery, you can expect swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the treated area. Strenuous activities should be avoided during the initial healing period. Most patients can resume regular activities within a week or two, while healing may take several weeks.

Are there any risks or complications associated with Mohs surgery?

Mohs surgery is considered safe, but like any surgical procedure, it carries some risks. Potential complications include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. These risks are relatively rare, and the procedure is generally well-tolerated by most patients.


Dr. Priya Nayyar and her staff will be happy to help you reach your aesthetic and wellness goals. Please feel free to reach out to us for assistance.

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