Choosing the Right Mohs Lab Equipment: How to Design the Perfect Mohs Lab Setup for Your Office
Mohs Micrographic Surgery has become the standard in the removal of Basal Cell and Squamous Cell carcinomas. The Mohs technique is preferred over alternatives because it maintains as much of the healthy tissue around the cancerous area as possible, leaving the patient with a less disfiguring result. In addition, the Mohs technique allows the doctor to review the skin samples for cancer cells during the surgery so that the cancerous area can be mapped out and the process repeated until all margins of the affected area are clear of cancer cells. As more Dermatologists have learned the Mohs technique, more and more are opting to develop their own Mohs laboratory within their offices.
A Mohs laboratory is a simple setup achievable with a few pieces of key laboratory equipment and a trained Mohs technician. A Mohs cryostat, stainer, microscope, flammable cabinet, reagents, and occasionally a containment hood are generally the only pieces of Mohs lab equipment necessary to be fully set up and functional. Because of this, Mohs laboratories do not require much space, which therefore makes it easy to set up a Mohs lab in most doctor offices.
Mohs Lab Equipment Options
If you’re planning to develop your own Mohs lab, consider your options around these important pieces of equipment:
Choosing a Mohs cryostat is an important part of the Mohs lab setup since it is the most critical piece of equipment involved in the Mohs process. Once the physician removes the cancerous skin, it is frozen in the cryostat, and then ultrathin sections of the skin are cut in the cryostat and placed on slides for staining and review. Choosing a cryostat that will work for your Mohs technician is key.
All cryostats can technically be used in the Mohs process; however, some cryostats features that are more conducive to the Mohs process are:
- Room in the cryo chamber for multiple patient specimens
- A rapid freeze area
- Ample work area on the top of the cryostat
- Easy-to-reach touch screens or keypads
One cryostat option is the MES1000+ Cryostat, which is an ideal choice for Mohs laboratories. The MES 1000+ Cryostat has a large working chamber able to accommodate up to 30 specimens along with two fast freeze stations, a designated area to place slides and a large work area on top of the cryostat.
Once the patient specimens are cut on the cryostat and placed on a slide, the slide needs to be stained in order for the physician to be able to see the cellular structures under a microscope. The volume of patient specimens will dictate the type of slide stainer that the Mohs lab will choose. If it is a low volume Mohs laboratory, a manual staining system or even simple Coplin jars will suffice for the staining process. However, if the Dermatology office has a high number of Mohs surgeons and/or patients with skin cancer, then the Mohs lab may opt for an automated stainer. Some appropriate, smaller footprint slide stainers are:
- HistoPro 414 – Designed to be easy to use, compact, and cost-conscious, the HistoPro 414 is excellent for small Mohs laboratories.
- SS-30 Slide Stainer – Perfect for histology and cytology labs, the SS-30 allows for the simultaneous and automatic staining of various 30-slide racks.
The Dermatologist will need a high-quality microscope to evaluate the stained patient sample slide to determine if the cellular structure shows signs of cancer cells. Doctors tend to have very specific requirements for their microscopes. It is a good idea for the Mohs technician to also have a microscope in the lab area for them to examine their prestained slides to ensure that they have captured a complete skin edge on the patient specimen. This scope does not have to be as high of quality as the physician microscope. To explore your options, learn more about our selection of microscopes.
Flammable Safety Cabinet
The reagents that are required to stain the slides in the Mohs lab should be stored in a flammable safety cabinet. The volume of patient specimens that the Mohs lab will be processing will determine the size of the flammable cabinet that will be required. The more specimens, the more reagents and therefore the larger the flammable cabinet. Learn about our flammable safety cabinets to explore your options.
If the laboratory is close to patient rooms, or if there is a high volume of reagents being used in the Mohs laboratory, the Mohs technician may opt to have a Containment Hood in the space to decrease the chemical fumes. The containment hood can be self-contained and should utilize filters appropriate for the chemicals/reagents used by the Mohs technician to stain the patient slides. The other option is for the containment hood to be vented to the outside.
The decision on which type of containment hood to purchase may be dictated by the physical location of the Mohs laboratory or the ordinances of the geographic location of the Mohs laboratory. Learn more by exploring our containment hoods and workstations.
Mohs Laboratory Equipment Providers and Consultants
Although Mohs laboratories are fairly simple to set up, it is helpful and advisable to work with a company that is familiar with all of the equipment required for a Mohs laboratory.
It is important that the company you choose to provide your Mohs laboratory equipment will support your Mohs laboratory before, during, and after the sale. Make sure that the laboratory equipment that you purchase is warrantied and that your Mohs technician properly maintains the laboratory equipment. Preventative yearly maintenance will prolong the life of your laboratory equipment and reduce downtime, which is extremely important with Mohs laboratories. On Mohs surgery days, the last thing you would want is to have your cryostat be down while patients are in the middle of a surgical procedure. Some Mohs laboratories purchase a backup cryostat for these emergency situations. Working with an equipment supplier ,who provides lab consulting, that can assist you throughout the whole lab setup process as well as post sale with preventative maintenance and service makes setting up a Mohs lab, running a Mohs lab, and maintaining a Mohs laboratory an easy endeavor.
Since 2002, Medical Equipment Source has been providing laboratory equipment services to private practices and independent laboratories across the country and the world, empowering them to run more efficiently while providing better patient outcomes.
From laboratory setups to lap equipment maintenance to consulting contracts, Medical Equipment Source provides a comprehensive range of solutions to physicians and practice managers looking to grow their business by offering their own in-house lab services. Medical Equipment Source provides help with lab and exam room furnishings, consumables, repair services, lab equipment and layout, and more.
Today, Medical Equipment Source is an authority in the physician-owned lab market, with clients in 49 states and 30 countries. Those clients range from physicians who have launched their own labs to lab technicians who have built their own spaces as well as hospitals, universities and reference laboratories.