Mohs surgery produces some of the best aesthetic results for skin cancer removal. This precise technique minimizes the removal of healthy skin, while effectively removing all cancer from the area. If you have skin cancer in a highly visible area, Mohs surgery is likely the technique we will recommend for your lesion removal.
Good aesthetic results are dependent on a few factors. The skill of the dermatologist performing your procedure is essential. Mohs surgery is a highly specialized and precise technique. It is best performed by a doctor with extensive training and experience performing this delicate micrographic surgery.
Your results aren’t entirely up to your doctor. We do our part in surgery, and you do yours at home. Recovery is another essential factor that determines the success of this procedure. Taking care of your wound properly and helping it heal consistently can dramatically improve your results.
Here are our best tips for healthy wound healing during Mohs surgery recovery.
Minimize Physical Activity
Exercise and strenuous activity are a good thing most days, but right after surgery, increased blood flow is something you’ll want to avoid. Physical activity gets the blood flowing, increasing bleeding risk. We ask patients to temporarily avoid aerobic activities such as jogging and heavy lifting. A gentle walk is usually OK, as long as you’re careful to keep your heart rate close to normal.
Another reason for reducing activity is to limit stretching of the healing tissues. Normally, the skin is very elastic and able to stretch and bend with you. For the first couple of weeks after surgery, your skin only has a fraction of its usual strength. Too much movement can disturb the healing tissues, overstretching and potentially tearing them. This advice is especially important if you had your surgery performed on a flexible area with lots of movement, like the hand.
Watch for Infection
Infection is one of the most significant concerns after skin cancer surgery. If this complication occurs, it can slow healing and increase scarring. If not treated, it can lead to serious complications. If you do experience infection, prompt treatment can reduce the risk. If you spot one of these signs of infection, let us know as soon as possible.
- Growing redness around the surgical area
- Enlarged lymph nodes near the surgical site
- Red splotches
- Pain that worsens after surgery
Stay out of the Sun
Freshly healing wounds are highly susceptible to sun damage. Too much sun can lead to permanent darkening of your scars.
After Mohs surgery, we recommend limiting sun exposure as much as possible. If you must go outdoors, wear a hat, use sun protection, and cover up.
Smoking constricts the blood vessels and slows healing. If you smoke, quit before surgery, and avoid using tobacco and nicotine products during the recovery process.
Keep Things Moist
Creams, ointments, and silicone covers can keep your wound moist, potentially reducing scarring. We’ll provide detailed after-care instructions and can recommend our favorite products for reducing scar formation after Mohs surgery.
Having skin cancer removed is stressful, but stress is the last thing you need. Stress hormones inhibit healing. Take a deep breath, relax, and know that we’re taking care of you. Skin cancer is very treatable if caught early.
If You Have a Scar
We’ll do our best to minimize scarring after Mohs surgery, but don’t fret if a scar does occur. There are ways to smooth and improve the appearance of your scars after healing. These include:
If you have scarring, let us help you explore your options. Call us at 626-793-7790 to schedule a consultation at our Pasadena dermatology office.
A skin cancer diagnosis can be intimidating, but you should know treatment options are available, especially if we catch things early. One of the most precise and effective treatments for skin cancer is a procedure called Mohs surgery. This micrographic surgery offers patients many benefits, and can help treat many kinds of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and some melanomas.
Learn about Mohs surgery for skin cancer and its many benefits. Interested in learning more? Give us a call at 626-793-7790 to schedule a consultation with one of our highly experienced dermatologists.
What Happens During Mohs Surgery?
We’ll provide you with detailed information about your Mohs surgery plan before your procedure. Here’s what you can expect during your treatment at Comprehensive Dermatology Center of Pasadena.
- First, we apply local anesthesia to the treatment area to ensure your comfort during surgery.
- We surgically remove the outer, visible portions of the tumor.
- Your doctor carefully removes a layer of tissue and surrounding skin, and sends it for analysis. You’ll be bandaged and will wait for the results.
- The dermatologist carefully examines the tissue, pinpointing the areas where cancer remains.
- Your doctor then removes another thin layer of tissue from the cancer site and covers the treatment area.
- While you wait, the tissue gets processed and analyzed for remaining cancer cells, and a map will show us exactly which areas need treatment.
- The process continues until all margins are clear and no cancer remains.
- After Mohs surgery, your doctor will address any aesthetic issues that arose from the procedure and will carefully bandage the treatment area. Some patients will need stitches. Large removals may require skin grafting. We do our best to minimize aesthetic changes while ensuring the removal of all cancer.
Mohs surgery can take some time to complete correctly, as it requires layer-by-layer tissue removal, with analysis between each stage. In some cases, this procedure can require more than four hours. Many patients will finish sooner, but we keep going until we achieve clear margins.
The Benefits of Mohs Surgery in Pasadena
Mohs surgery offers many benefits to skin cancer patients. This treatment allows for the maximum preservation of healthy tissues with complete removal of the cancer, and virtually eliminates recurrence. Since we remove all cancerous tissues are removed during surgery, there is no need for reoperation for insufficient tissue removal.
Because your surgeon will remove the smallest amount of tissue possible, this technique is ideal for treating highly visible areas like the face, nose, hands, and ears.
The benefits of Mohs surgery include:
- Complete cancer removal, verified at the time of surgery
- No need for additional operations
- Minimizes healthy tissue removal
- Allows for immediate cosmetic repair
- Effective for hard-to-treat and stubborn cancers
Do I Need a Skin Cancer Screening?
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. It is also very treatable if we catch it early. Come see us for a skin cancer screening if you notice changes to your skin. Changes to watch for include:
- A skin growth that bleeds easily
- Growths that increase in size
- Changes in the appearance of moles or birthmarks
- Moles or birthmarks that itch, hurt, crust, or bleed
- An open sore that does not heal within four weeks
- A sore that heals and reopens
If you notice these or other changes to your skin, schedule a visit to your dermatologist. It is best to treat skin cancer at its earliest stages, before it has grown substantially or spread to other parts of the body. You can reach Comprehensive Dermatology Center of Pasadena at 626-793-7790.
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