Section : History & Terminology

MOHS surgery: an abbreviation of what ?

  • Well actually a joke but many of us don’t know that Mohs is actually a general surgeon.
  • Dr Frederick E. Mohs (1910-2002), was an American physician and surgeon from WISCONSIN who developed migrographic surgery
  • This “microscopically controlled method of cancer excision” was published in 1941.
  • It a technique, which is used to remove skin neoplasms and other tumors in sparse cutaneous areas such as the nose requires the assistance of microscopy:
    • slow Mohs technique where the tissues are fixed and where the operation can be done over a few days
    • classical Mohs (as described in 1941) where the excised tissue is fixed by freezing and the frozen sections examined for negative margins. (initially Mohs used zinc hloride to fix the tissues, but later abandoned it). Usually the surgery is done over a single day.
  • For patient-oriented information on Mohs surgery: click here.


Dr Christophe Hsu – dermatologist. Geneva, Switzerland

Source of information: Crissey JT el al. Dermatology and Dermatologists (2002). Parthenon Publishing