What to Expect After Mohs Surgery

Quintana, Adelle, T, MD (Laser & Mohs Surgery of New York)Mohs micrographic surgery is regarded as the most highly effective skin cancer treatment to date. The reason being is that this protocol allows for the immediate evaluation of removed tissue. As such, Mohs demonstrates high-efficiency rates for the complete removal of cancerous cells. Simultaneously, it is successful at preserving the greatest extent of healthy tissue. Here, we discuss what patients can expect during Mohs recovery and how to support optimal healing.

Mohs Recovery Timeline

  • The first 24 hours. After Mohs surgery, patients may feel moderate discomfort. This can typically be managed with extra-strength Tylenol or another recommended pain reliever. Ice may also be applied over the surgical dressing. The skin may be bruised and swollen, and the surgical site may ooze or bleed a little. This can be stopped with gentle pressure. The wound needs to be kept dry for at least 24 hours.
  • The day after treatment. Most patients can resume light activities the day following Mohs surgery. The dressing may also be able to come off on this day.
  • Days 5 to 10. Patients are normally back to work within a few days. If sutures were placed, they may be removed 5 to 10 days after surgery.
  • Days 7 to 14. Swelling and bruising typically resolve by day 14 after surgery. More vigorous physical activity can be resumed.
  • 4 to 6 weeks after Mohs. Full healing is expected by week 6. However, this can vary based on the size of the wound. At this time, slight residual redness may still be visible. This can fade over the course of several months.

It is important to note that every Mohs patient may heal slightly different than others due to factors such as wound size, location, and the patient’s innate healing response.

Mohs Recovery Tips

  • Attend all follow-ups
  • Adhere to post-surgical instructions on wound care
  • Refrain from scratching or rubbing the surgical wound
  • Avoid wearing makeup until cleared by your doctor if Mohs is conducted on the face
  • Avoid rigorous activity until cleared by your doctor
  • Sleep with the head elevated if surgery was performed on the face or neck
  • Drink at least eight glasses of water a day
  • Avoid sun exposure and wear sunscreen when cleared by your doctor

We are proud to offer Mohs skin cancer surgery to patients in NYC. For more information on this procedure, call 212.391.8600.

Posted in: Mohs Micrographic Surgery

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NYC Dermatologists
130 W 42nd St #1900 | New York, NY 10036
Hours: Monday – Friday: 7:30AM – 8PM
T. 212.391.8600 | F. 212.391.8601