What does Post-Operative Care Involve?
We request that a family member or friend accompany you on the day of your surgery to provide companionship and to assist you in getting home.
Following Mohs Surgery, most people are concerned about pain, although the majority of our patients experience only mild discomfort. In part, your level of discomfort will depend upon how large your wound is and where it is located.
- Most patients do quite well taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). On occasion, a stronger medication such as codeine will be prescribed.
- A small number of patients may experience some bleeding post-operatively. This can usually be controlled by the use of pressure.
- Prior to your discharge from our facility, one of our nurses or medical assistants will advise you on appropriate wound care and provide you with a detailed list of instructions.
- In most instances, you will return to our office in one week for removal of the sutures/stitches and a post-operative check. We often see our patients back again in one month to ensure that the healing process is proceeding well.
- After the wound has healed well, most patients can be followed by their referring physician. We typically recommend follow-ups with your general dermatologist every six months.
- If you notice any signs or symptoms of a new skin cancer growth at any time, seek consultation with your referring physician immediately. We will gladly schedule an appointment to see you back in our office.
With any surgical procedure, there is a chance of complications. Although every effort will be made to offer the best possible cosmetic result, you will be left with a scar. Proper wound care at home will help the healing process and minimize scarring. If necessary, reconstructive surgery following removal of your skin cancer can result in a more pleasing cosmetic outcome.
- Please keep in mind that it often takes months before final wound healing is complete and the best cosmetic result is obtained.
- Although, uncommon, bleeding after surgery is the most common potential post-operative complication. To minimize the chances of this occurring, patients are advised to be as minimally active after surgery as possible. This includes activity restrictions such as:
- No bending or heavy lifting
- No rigorous exercise or exertion
- Do not make important plans in the days immediately following your surgery
- Infection is also a possibility following surgery, but it occurs only in one to two percent of patients. Often a small red area may develop surrounding your wound. This is normal and does not necessarily indicate infection. However, if this redness does not subside, and if the wound begins to drain pus or becomes swollen or very tender, you should notify us immediately.
- Swelling and bruising are common following Mohs Surgery, particularly when surgery is performed around the eyes. This usually occurs within five to seven days after surgery and may be decreased by the use of an ice pack during the first 24 – 48 hours.
- At times, the area surrounding your wound will be numb to the touch. This may persist for weeks or months, and in some instances, can be permanent. This is due to trauma to the small nerve endings in the skin surface that occurs during removal of the tumor.
- Finally, the skin cancer can recur. The cure rate with Mohs Surgery is greater than 95% but, unfortunately, not 100%. Occasionally, the cancer may come back in the same location.