How Much Does Mohs Surgery Cost?
Mohs surgery, otherwise known as micrographic or chemosurgery surgery, is the most effective surgery in taking out basal cell carcinoma or any other type of skin cancer. With Mohs surgery, layers of cancer-inflicted skin are taken out progressively. It is then examined until the cancer-free tissue is left. The goal of Mohs surgery is to make sure that all of the skin cancer tissue is removed without damaging the healthy tissue. The success rate of Mohs surgery in most case studies is 97%. While Mohs surgery is quite a bit more expensive than other types of cancer treatments, it is often chosen by doctors and patients because of its high success rate and low number of side effects.
How much does it cost?
- On average, the procedure is going to range anywhere from as little as $500 to as much as $4,000 without any sort of insurance. The price will really come down to the size, number of layers, location and dermatologist performing procedure. Typically, the more layers you need to have removed, the more it is going to cost.
- In a post on the website RealSelf.com, a Manhattan Dermatologist shared that Mohs surgery may cost around $1,000.
- According to an article in JournalWatch Specialties, the average cost of MOHS micrographic surgery would cost around $100o for a primary basal cell carcinoma. If there is a recurrent basal cell carcinoma, it will only cost $745.
- If you have health insurance or Medicare, you may be covered, but it will all depend on your policy. If you do not have a policy, consider health insurance search engines such as eHealthInsurance.com.
What is going to be included?
- During the procedure, the skin cancer cells will be removed layer by layer. Each layer will be examined under a microscope until a healthy layer is found. The patient will typically be under a local anesthesia.
- The layers will be removed by scraping the layers with a tool known as a curette. Each layer of skin can take upwards of 15 minutes to remove. Once the cancer is gone from the layers, the surgery is officially done.
What are the extra costs?
- There is an extra cost for the reconstructive repair. Your skin might need a skin graft on the surgical defect. Also, the fee for the reconstructive repair may vary depending on the complexity of the procedure and the size of the area.
- A pathology reading may also be an additional charge before the procedure begins.
Factors that influence the price:
- Area. The cost of the surgery varies according to the area of the body on which it is to be performed. There is a different rate for the mohs surgery on the scalp, neck, face, lower extremities, back, arms, etc.
- Physician’s expertise. A more experienced physician could get the mohs surgery done with minimal damage and in a shorter period of time.
- Condition. The severity of the skin cancer could affect the cost of the mohs surgery. The physician might need to get rid of more skin layers for some conditions than others.
- Complexity of the procedure. Mohs surgery may vary depending on how intricate the doctor works. After all, he will want to limit the damage done to the skin.
- Type of repair done. Repair depends on the style of reconstruction. You might just need a side-to-side closure or a skin graft or flap.
Tips to know:
- Any certified dermatologist can perform mohs surgery. However, make sure to get a doctor that has undergone a fellowship focusing on mohs surgery.
- Inform your surgeon of the medications and supplements you are currently taking. This includes blood-thinning and anti-hypertensive medications. It may affect the healing process after your surgery.
- Take a whole day off for your surgery. Typically, the surgery will only take four hours. However, there is a chance that it will take longer than expected. You will probably want some time to rest and recuperate after the procedure as well.
- Dress comfortably. The procedure takes much of your time so you need to wear something comfortable. You could also come up with ideas on how to help pass the time during the surgery. You could read a book or play games in your iPad.
Questions to ask:
- Have you taken a fellowship that specializes in mohs surgery?
- What are your qualifications and experiences in performing mohs surgery?
- Is there an alternative for mohs surgery?
How can I save money?
- As mentioned above, consider consulting your medical insurance if you have it. This procedure will most likely be covered since it is a treatment for different types of skin cancers.
- Seek information from a Mohs Micrographic Surgeon that is willing to help you limit your financial burden. Their clinic might just be able to give you a flat fee for the entire surgery.
- If you feel uncomfortable with the Mohs surgery route, there are other options available to you. These options include radiation, topical creams, desiccation, injections, therapy and more. Medicinenet.com has a list of alternatives to consider.