Mohs Surgery (cont.)
Nili N. Alai, MD, FAAD
Dr. Alai is an actively practicing medical and surgical dermatologist in south Orange County, California. She has been a professor of dermatology and family medicine at the University of California, Irvine since 2000. She is U.S. board-certified in dermatology, a 10-year-certified fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, and Fellow of the American Society of Mohs Surgery.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS)? Why is the procedure called Mohs?
- Where can I have Mohs surgery, and how long does the surgery take?
- What kind of physician can perform Mohs surgery? Where can I find a doctor board-certified in Mohs?
- Is Mohs only for skin cancer?
- Am I a good candidate for Mohs surgery?
- What if I have artificial joints or other health issues?
- What areas are treatable by Mohs surgery?
- What are possible complications of Mohs?
- What is reconstruction? Will I have a scar?
- What are alternatives for Mohs surgery?
- What about insurance coverage and costs?
- How do I prepare for my surgery?
- How is recovery? Is it painful?
- How do I take care of my surgical area after Mohs surgery?
- What is the chance that my cancer will recur?
- How many "levels" of Mohs will I need?
- How are skin cancers treated?
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
How is recovery? Is it painful?
Recovery is usually very easy and uneventful. Overall, resting as much as possible the first few days after surgery is generally helpful.
Stitches (sutures) are usually removed at the surgeon's office anywhere from four to 14 days from the date of surgery. Your physician will let you know what date to return for stitch removal.
Most patients report no or minimal discomfort after surgery and require no pain medication.
If there is pain, many patients find that they prefer to take something for pain at the first hint of discomfort instead of waiting until the pain builds up to an unbearable level. If you have mild or moderate pain, your doctor may advise you to take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or another pain reliever over the counter. Aspirin or aspirin-containing pain relievers may cause increased bleeding. Rarely, prescription pain medications may be required for severe pain.
Learn more about: Tylenol
Your physician will let you know what pain medications are recommended for your specific condition.
Most patients are able to return to work or school the same day or next day after Mohs. Avoiding heavy lifting, straining, or strenuous exercise for seven to 21 days may be required depending on the area of surgery. Your physician will need to let you know what activity precautions are required based on the area and size of your procedure.
There are no specific strict sun restrictions after Mohs surgery. You may go out in the sun with sunscreen and protective hats and clothing. Overall, the sun is not your friend and should be avoided in excess. Excess sun exposure has been linked to possible skin cancer. Use of sunscreen or other coverup on the scar is very helpful for at least six months after surgery to help minimize scarring. It is important to follow your own physician's instructions for wound care and sun protection.
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