What to Expect After Mohs Cancer Surgery

What to Expect After Mohs Cancer Surgery | St. Louis, MissouriPatients usually recover from Mohs surgery in an easy and uneventful manner. In general, getting as much rest as possible during the initial few days after the procedure is helpful.

Board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness and Jackie McGinness, FNP (Nurse Practitioner) provide skin care treatments to patients in Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and surrounding locations.


Recovery Process

Following Mohs surgery, the sutures (stitches) are typically removed at the surgeon’s office between four to 14 days from the date of the Mohs procedure. The doctor will inform the patient on when to return for suture removal.

A majority of patients report negligible discomfort following the surgery and need minimal to no pain drugs.

Patients will mild to moderate pain may need to take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or another pain medication. Pain relievers such as aspirin or those that contain aspirin may lead to increased bleeding. In rare cases, the patient may require prescription pain meds to address severe pain.

The doctor will let the patient know what pain drugs are recommended for their particular condition.

A majority of patients are able to resume work or school the next day after their Mohs procedure. Depending on the treated area, they may need to avoid heavy lifting, straining, and aggressive exercise for seven to 21 days. The doctor will explain what activity precautions they may need to take depending on the area and extent of the procedure.

The patient may go out in the sun after applying sunscreen and with protective hats and clothing. Excess exposure to the sun has been linked to skin cancer.

It is helpful to use sunscreen or another cover-up on the scar for at least six months after the procedure to minimize scarring. It is vital to follow the doctor’s guidelines for wound care and sun protection.


How to care for the surgical area following Mohs surgery?

Patients should check with their surgeon for specific post-op wound care guidelines. They will usually be asked to return home and relax for the remainder of the day. Some patients prefer to resume work the day after their Mohs procedure.

The patient should avoid heavy lifting and exercise, particularly during the first 24 to 48 hours following the surgery.

The doctor will typically offer the patient more detailed guidelines depending on the size and area of the surgery. The patient will usually have a bulky “pressure” dressing on the surgical site for one day.

They may be asked to keep the site dry for 24 hours. Many doctors allow the patient to shower the next day following the surgery. The wound care may involve cleaning the wound with hydrogen peroxide or soap two to three times daily and applying petroleum jelly to the site.

Mild inflammation is not uncommon on the first or second day after the procedure. This swelling can be reduced by an ice-bag application, ice cubes or chips in a small Ziploc baggie, or frozen peas in the bag.

Inflammation occurs more commonly for surgeries around the lips or eyes. If the patient sleeps in an elevated position, it may help reduce the inflammation after the surgery of the face and head area.

The surgeon will need to understand if the patient is experiencing increasing pain after one to two days following the surgery or if they have fever or other concerning symptoms. Patients with such symptoms may need to be seen at the surgeon’s office, and the surgical area may need to be examined for infection or bleeding.

Board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness and Jackie McGinness, FNP (Nurse Practitioner) receive patients from Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and nearby areas for skin care procedures.
If you would like to learn more about procedures and treatments at Metro East Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center by Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Jamie L. McGinness please contact us here or call (618) 622-SKIN (7546)

Taking new patients in and around the greater St. Louis, Missouri and Illinois area: East St. Louis Missouri, Shiloh Illinois, Belleville, Millstadt, Saint Clair County, Madison County and more.

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