Aftercare: What to Know About Facial Mohs Surgery
Having any kind of surgery can be overwhelming and with skin cancer often being found on the face, it can even be frightening. You may be wondering what to do for aftercare, if you’ll have a scar, and if so, how bad it will look? Fortunately, Mohs surgery is an effective treatment for most types of skin cancer and your doctor will be able to help you with reconstruction options if there is scarring.
Here is information on Mohs surgery aftercare and what to expect after your surgery.
After the surgery
After you have the Mohs surgery completed, if there is going to be substantial scarring, the doctor will most likely have a plastic surgeon who can negate some of the damage. How the reconstruction is decided and when it is to be done depends on the extent of the potential scarring.
For instance, the location of the cancer, the size of the cancer, and the roots are all factors in the reconstruction decision process. Some patients do not need reconstruction treatment at all; it all depends:1
- For those who have smaller and less complex wounds, it is typical to allow them to heal on their own. This process is known as secondary intention healing.
- For those with wounds that are slightly larger, a pattern of side by side stitches may be the best option.
- Wounds that are complicated and larger may require a skin graft or in some cases, what is known as a flap. This is where there is skin taken from the adjacent area to close the wound.
- For large wounds, the patient may be referred to a plastic surgeon who will repair the wound but this is usually rare.1
Your dermatologist will schedule an appointment with you for a follow-up to be sure that the wound is healing nicely. Even if your wound is small and healing well, it is imperative that the doctor checks to see that there is not a recurrence of cancer.
After your surgery, your doctor should have given you aftercare instructions such as bandage changes, what medicines you should or can take, follow-up appointments, and how to take care of your wound in general.
However, there are a few things that you should be aware of to help heal faster:1
- Keep your wound moisturized to aid in healing faster. Common ointments include Vaseline, Polysporin, and Aquaphor.
- Keep the bandage on for 24 hours.
- Do not rinse directly with water.
- Keep the activity level mild around the wound site. For instance, doctors often suggest not bending over with facial wounds – at least for a few weeks after surgery.
- Do not stretch the wound for about three weeks.
- Take OTC medicine for pain unless otherwise noted.
- If there is bleeding, apply pressure for 10 minutes. If it is still bleeding after this time period, call your doctor.
How often do you speak to your family members about skin cancer?