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Mohs Skin Cancer Surgery

What is Mohs

Mohs surgery is the most effective way to treat skin cancers that have recurred after previous therapy, have an aggressive growth pattern, or are located in sensitive areas like the head and neck. In a single treatment session, cancerous cells are removed and studied, while leaving healthy tissues intact.

Why Mohs

Known as one of the most effective treatment methods for skin cancer, Mohs surgery leaves less scarring after treatment and keeps healthy tissue intact. With Mohs surgery, cure rates for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are as high as 99%.

Conditions Treated

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma
  • Growth Patterns
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Malignant Melanoma


How it Works/What to Expect

With Mohs surgery, Dr. Arlette or Dr. Guillemaud removes the unhealthy tissue and carefully inspects the cancerous cells. Once inspected, they can remove the cancerous tissue to ensure cancer is eliminated. This process will continue until the area has been cleared of any cancer cells.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mohs Surgery For?

Mohs surgery is frequently recommended for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It might also be used to treat aggressive or large cancers, cancer without a defined border or those with a high recurrence rate.

What are the risks of Mohs Surgery?

Mohs surgery has been performed since the middle of the 19th century, so the risks associated with this procedure are relatively minimal today. Common risks of any surgical procedure include infection, pain and excessive bleeding. However, these risks are fairly small if patients choose a physician like Dr. Arlette who is experienced in the Mohs procedure.

What is the Mohs Surgery procedure like?

Mohs surgery in Calgary, at Total Skincare Centre, is performed as an outpatient under local anesthetic. The total procedure time usually takes about four hours, including time for analysis of tissue between excisions. Some patients may take longer if the cancer is unusually large or deep.

Is Mohs Surgery painful?

Mohs surgery is performed with local anesthetic, so the patient does not feel anything during the procedure. Some patients report mild discomfort at the surgical site after treatment, but this can usually be managed effectively with over-the-counter pain medication.

What is the recovery time for Mohs Surgery?

Patients are able to return to normal activities within a day or two after Mohs surgery. However, it typically takes 2-4 weeks to allow the wound time to heal properly. Patients will need to use care during that time not to injure the wound while it is healing.

What is the success rate of Mohs Surgery?

Mohs surgery has some of the highest success rates of any skin cancer treatment. Patients getting Mohs cancer treatment for the first time may see a cure rate of up to 99%.

Is there anything I should do to prepare for Mohs surgery?

You will be provided with preparation instructions before your appointment. Some simple things to remember:

  • eat breakfast unless instructed otherwise,
  • wear clean, comfortable, and loose fitting clothing,
  • refrain from smoking or using tobacco before your appointment.
What do I do after receiving Mohs surgery?

You will receive aftercare instructions from our team, but we do ask that you refrain from smoking or using tobacco after your appointment, and avoid physical activity for at least 3 days. Also, don’t take aspirin for 48 hours; unless your family doctor or specialist has directed you otherwise.

Meet our Mohs Surgery Professional

Dr. John Arlette, MD, FRCP, Dermatologic Surgeon

With over 30 years operating his own medical practice in Calgary, and over 20 years of injectables experience, Dr. John Arlette is a board-certified dermatologist who is highly sought-after for his technique and expertise. He’s built his career on listening to his client’s needs, developing innovative and advanced skincare techniques, and recommending the most effective treatment plans, cosmetic products, and services.

Find out More About Mohs Surgery as a Cancer Treatment Option.