Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Mohs math – where the error hides

Jeffrey I Ellis1*, Tatiana Khrom1, Anthony Wong1, Mario O Gentile2 and Daniel M Siegel1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Dermatology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York, 11203, USA

2, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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BMC Dermatology 2006, 6:10  doi:10.1186/1471-5945-6-10

Published: 6 December 2006



Mohs surgical technique allows a full view of surgical margins and has a reported cure rate approaching 100%.


A survey amongst Mohs surgeons was performed to assess operator technique. In addition, an animated clay model was constructed to identify and quantify tissue movement seen during the processing of Mohs surgical specimens.


There is variability in technique used in Mohs surgery in regards to the thickness of layers, and the number of blocks layers are cut into. A mathematical model is described which assesses the clinical impact of this variability.


Our mathematical model identifies key aspects of technique that may contribute to error. To keep the inherent error rate at a minimum, we advocate minimal division and minimal physical thickness of Mohs specimens.