Any board certified dermatologist can perform Mohs surgery. However, without the ACMS (American College of Mohs Surgery) certification, they may lack in the extensive training required to pass this exclusive membership. An ACMS Mohs surgeon has undergone rigorous fellowship training. Before beginning training, they are chosen through an extremely competitive review and selection process. Then those dermatologic surgeons selected are required to complete an intensive 1 or 2 year post-residency ACMS fellowship training program. This extensive training includes participation in at least 500 Mohs surgery cases under the supervision of an experienced ACMS-approved Mohs surgeon.
Highly qualified instructors
Each candidate for the fellowship program is paired with an accredited, veteran ACMS surgeon who has demonstrated proficiency and expertise in Mohs surgery. The fellow-in-training receives direct Mohs surgery direction and mentoring for the duration of the program. To ensure adherence to the ACMS academic and clinical requirements, training centers are re-evaluated every 1 to 5 years.
Fellowship training programs are designed to impart experience and judgment into each graduate. By design, these programs are comprehensive and rigorous because skin cancer itself occurs in a diversity of forms, degrees, and areas of the body. To complete an ACMS-approved fellowship, a physician must:
- Participate in a minimum of 500 Mohs surgery cases
- Learn to accurately interpret slides of tissue samples that have been removed during Mohs surgery
- Perform a wide breadth of reconstructions, ranging from simple closures to complicated multi-step repairs
Advantages of Mohs surgery and using an ACMS Mohs surgeon
Mohs surgery is a highly specialized form of skin cancer surgery. Most skin cancers extend under the skin beyond what is seen on the surface. Therefore, Mohs surgery has two stages: first all the visible tumor is removed, then while the patient waits, the tissue is processed and carefully examined under the microscope. If there is any cancer remaining, another thin margin of skin is removed, from the affected area only, and this is again examined. The whole process is repeated until all the cancer has been removed.
Mohs surgery has two main advantages over other skin cancer treatments. First, for most skin cancers Mohs surgery offers the highest cure rate possible, approximately 99%. Second, as Mohs surgery is guided by what is found under the microscope, it removes the least possible amount of skin while still removing all the cancer. This is especially important for lesions on areas such as the ear or face.
Both Mohs surgeons, Dr. Amy Kim and Dr. Diamondis Papdopoulos at MetroDerm, P.C. in Atlanta, have undergone these required extensive studies and surgery cases to receive the certification of an ACMS Mohs surgeon. If you find that you need Mohs surgery for removal of skin cancer, you can rest assured that you are in good hands.