Post-Operative Care Following Mohs Surgery


Mohs surgery is a common procedure for many skin cancers because it has the highest cure rate. If you've been told you need to undergo Mohs surgery, you'll be happy to know that recovery is typically quick and mostly painless, but there are post-operative considerations you should be aware of to give yourself the best possible outcome.

Immediate Post-Surgical Care

Mohs surgery is nearly always an outpatient process, but the surgery itself can take several hours, so schedule yourself a full day off for your surgery. If you're having surgery in the afternoon it's a good idea to take the following day off if you can. Most patients have little to no pain, but your surgeon may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, if you experience discomfort or swelling.

Wound Care

Your surgeon will give you specific wound care instructions, and it's important to follow them exactly to minimize the chance of infection and promote swift healing with as little scar tissue as possible. You'll need to change your dressing at least daily after the first couple of days. Most Mohs surgery patients use a pressure dressing that keeps the wound compressed and moist for 48 hours after surgery. This promotes healing and allows the wound to drain. Your surgeon will most likely advise you to avoid getting the bandage wet, so you may have to forego exercise and full showers for at least two days. Stock up on bathing wipes and dry shampoo before your surgery to keep yourself looking and feeling fresh until you can change the dressing.

Scar Treatment

Like most surgical procedures, you'll likely be left with a visible scar after surgery. Don't worry though -- the way your skin looks immediately after the wound heals isn't indicative of how your scar will turn out. Most scars fade and flatten for a full year post-surgery. Scar tissue can darken in the sun, so make sure to wear sunscreen on any exposed areas, even on cloudy days.

If you're left with an unsightly scar even after following your wound care instructions carefully and allowing your skin some time to heal, your dermatologist can advise you on your options to reduce its appearance. Laser resurfacing, dermabrasion treatments and injections into the scar tissue to minimizing raised areas and reducing the amount of scar tissue are all treatments you might consider for cosmetic purposes.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you'll need to schedule regular follow-up visits after your surgery. Regular checkups, coupled with careful monthly skin examinations you do at home, can help catch any future skin lesions or abnormalities quickly so your surgeon can diagnose and treat any issues or cancer recurrences as soon as possible.


12 August 2017

Never Ignore an Unusual Skin Change

When I was a teenager, I loved sunbathing to keep a golden tan. My family had no history of skin cancer, so I thought my skin was "invincible" to sun damage. Years later, as an adult, I noticed an unusual patch of skin on my arm. I had no idea what it was, but thankfully, I made an appointment with my GP to get it checked out. She referred me to a dermatologist who diagnosed me with very early stage skin cancer that could be treatable with a simple cream. I was very lucky that the cream worked, but if I had waited to visit the dermatologist until my skin cancer was more advanced, I would have had to have surgery to remove it. I decided to start a blog to share my story and post tips about skin health. Please come back often and learn more about skin!