Mohs versus traditional surgical excision for facial and auricular nonmelanoma skin cancer: an analysis of cost-effectiveness

Dermatol Surg. 2009 Nov;35(11):1776-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2009.01291.x. Epub 2009 Sep 8.


Objective: To evaluate and compare Mohs micrographic surgery and traditional excision in terms of cost and outcomes.

Design: We developed a computer-simulation, probabilistic, decision model to perform a cost-effectiveness analysis, with each patient serving as his or her own control.

Setting: University of Connecticut dermatology clinic, a tertiary care referral center.

Participants: Input data were derived from results of a consecutive sample of 98 patients with nonmelanoma skin cancer on the face and ears, estimates in the literature on 5-year recurrence rates, and a query of healthy focus-group participants.

Intervention: We considered Mohs and traditional excision strategies.

Main outcome measures: Outcomes were measured in quality-adjusted life years, cost, and cost-effectiveness.

Results: The Mohs strategy was $292 less expensive than the traditional surgical strategy and was more effective by an incremental quality-adjusted life year of 0.056 (translating to approximately 3 weeks of optimal quality of life). Results were robust to subgroup and sensitivity analyses.

Conclusions: Mohs may be more cost-effective than traditional excision in eradicating nonmelanoma skin cancer. Further investigation of costs from various geographic payment localities and assessment of quality-of-life outcomes from a population-based sample are needed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Ear Neoplasms / economics*
  • Ear Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Facial Neoplasms / economics*
  • Facial Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mohs Surgery / economics*
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Skin Neoplasms / economics*
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery*