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Do You Have to Have a Biopsy Before Mohs Surgery?

must a biopsy be done prior to a mohs surgery or is the mohs procedure ever done for both? I do not have insurance and am thinking that doing a Mohs procedure would possibly save me money in the long run. My lesion is on my shin.

Doctor Answers (5)

Do i need a biopsy before mohs surgery


Yes.  Mohs' surgery is a technique used to evaluate the margins only, it does not diagnose skin cancer.  Therefore prior to Mohs' a biopsy must ALWAYS be done, although can be done immediately prior to Mohs'.

Miami Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Biopsy Before Mohs Surgery?


Yes, you need a biopsy. A biopsy is performed on a lesion that is suspicious for skin cancer. The biopsy confirms that the lesion is indeed a skin cancer. What if it's not a skin cancer? What if it's a precancer (i.e. actinic keratosis) or wart? Then you would be able to avoid the cost of the Mohs surgery and get the appropriate treatment. Biopsy first. If it's a skin cancer, then based on the results of the biopsy you can determine what is the best option for treatment.

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Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

A biopsy is a must before Mohs surgery


Prior to performing surgery for a skin cancer using Mohs micrographic surgery, the diagnosis should be confirmed with a biopsy, otherwise, you might undergo unnecessary surgery, with risks that are not warranted. The biopsy could be a frozen biopsy and if the results prove there to be a skin cancer, then the Mohs surgery could be done. Usually, a biopsy is done in a standard fashion and sent to a laboratory for permanent section analysis (not frozen). Then when the result returns days later, the surgery is scheduled if needed.

Manhattan Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Yes, You Need a Biopsy


A biopsy is performed to establish a diagnosis of skin cancer.  Mohs surgery is best applied for well differentiated skin cancers (BCCA, SCCA) in sensitive anatomic areas. 

Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Biopsy prior to Mohs Surgery


I would always recommend performing a biopsy prior to Mohs surgery. The biopsy is sent for "permanent section" and is much better diagnostically than frozen section.

West Palm Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.