What To Know About MOHS Surgery And Recovery

The last thing that anyone wants to hear from their doctor is that they have cancer. If you are going to get one type of cancer though, skin cancer isn't quite as frightening because when it's caught in its early stages it can easily treated. Depending on the biopsy results that your doctor gets back, they may recommend a popular skin cancer treatment called MOHS surgery. 

MOHS surgery is a type of surgery that is named after the doctor that created it. The reason why a lot of dermatologists prefer this type of surgery to treat skin cancer is that it's a very thorough procedure. 

What Happens During MOHS Surgery?

The tricky thing about MOHS surgery is that since it's so thorough, the procedure can take several hours. While you will be conscious, your dermatologist will apply a topical anesthetic to your skin to help really numb it so that you don't feel a thing. Then, once everything is numb, they will start the intricate process of removing one tiny layer of skin at a time. Once a layer of skin has been removed,  your dermatologist will then put it under a microscope to inspect it for cancerous cells. If there are cancerous cells, they will continue the process until they find a layer of skin that doesn't have any cancerous cells. 

What Is Recovery Like? 

Recovery from MOHS surgery varies from patient to patient depending on how much skin is removed. If a lot of skin is removed, there may be a small hole in it that will then be stitched up with small sutures.  If there wasn't that much skin that they had to remove, then they may just cover the skin so that tit doesn't get infected. To make sure you don't get an infection, your doctor will recommend that you: 

  • Clean around the incision gently with something like a Q-Tip and warm water. Gently remove any pus or blood build up without picking at the incisions
  • Apply a small amount of antibiotic gel to the top of it so that it doesn't get infected
  • Keep it covered when you are outside so that the sun doesn't darken it

While you will likely have a scar after MOHS surgery, it's much better than having to go through other more invasive types of treatments. If you want to learn more about MOHS surgery, reach out to your dermatologist.