Skin Cancer & Mohs Surgery
You should plan on wearing a bandage for 10-14 days. Please plan to avoid strenuous physical activity for 48 hours and in some cases one week.
You may experience a sensation of tightness across the area of your surgery. Skin cancers frequently involve small superficial nerves and months may pass before your skin sensation returns to normal. A numbness sensation may be expected over the area. This is common and usually expected but is something that with time will return to normal. In very rare instances, the numbness may be permanent.
Complete healing of the scar takes place over 3-12 months. Especially during the first few months the site may feel "thick, swollen or lumpy", and there may be some redness. Gentle massage of the area (starting about one month after your surgery and excluding grafts) will speed the healing process.
The defect created by the removal of the skin cancer may be larger than anticipated. There is no way to predict prior to surgery the exact size of the final defect.
There will be a scar at the site of removal. We will make every effort to obtain optimal cosmetic results, but our primary goal is to remove the entire tumor. Again, Moh's surgery will leave you with the smallest wound thus creating the best opportunity for optimal cosmetic results.
In some cases there may be poor wound healing. At times, despite our best efforts, for various reasons (such as bleeding, poor physical condition, smoking, diabetes, or other diseases), healing is slow or the wound may re-open. Flaps and grafts used to repair the defect may at times fail also.
Although these instances are not common, they are to be expected with the instances listed above. Under these circumstances, the wound will usually be left to heal on its own and in some cases after healing certain procedures may be done to improve the cosmetic appearance of the area.
Finally, while the Mohs technique offers the highest cure rates, no technique offers a 100% chance of a cure. There is a small chance, at least 1-2%, depending on tumor type and location that the skin cancer will recur. Previously treated tumors and large, longstanding tumors have the greatest chance of recurrence.
Please review the Preoperative Instructions and Check List again prior to your arrival to our office. If you have any questions, please feel free to call our office for assistance. (If you are a new patient, a map to our office and hotel information should be included with your instructions.)