Recovering from Mohs Surgery: What to Expect

Sep 01, 2023
Are you scheduled for Mohs surgery? It’s one of the most effective treatments for skin cancer, but it’s important to be prepared. Learn what happens after surgery and what you can do to promote healing.

Mohs surgery is one of the most effective treatments for certain types of skin cancer, offering cure rates of up to 99%. The procedure is named after its developer, Dr. Frederic Mohs, and it removes cancerous tissue layer by layer until no cancer cells remain. This procedure removes the cancer but leaves as much healthy tissue as possible.

If you’re scheduled for Mohs surgery, understanding what to expect during the recovery period is essential for a smooth and successful healing process. Gangaram Ragi, MD — who was trained by Dr. Mohs — and our team at Advanced Laser and Skin Cancer Center in Teaneck, New Jersey, are here to help you prepare.

Here’s what you can expect while recovering from Mohs surgery, and what you can do to promote healing and lower your risk for complications.

Immediately after your Mohs procedure

As soon as your surgery is over, we cover the surgical site with sterile dressings and bandages. We give you specific care instructions, and you’re free to go home.

You may need to avoid strenuous activities and any movements that could disturb your wound for a period of time. Resting and keeping the surgical site elevated can help reduce swelling and promote healing.

Some mild pain is common after Mohs surgery, and our team gives you recommendations for pain management. Depending on your needs, we may prescribe pain medication or suggest over-the-counter pain relievers. 

Caring for your wound after Mohs surgery

As your body heals, it’s important to care for the surgery site properly to promote healing. Be sure to follow the surgeon's guidelines carefully, and remember to:

Keep the wound dry and protected

During the initial healing period, keep your wound dry to lower your risk for infection. Avoid soaking the area in water, and use a protective covering during showers.

Ultraviolet exposure can be harmful during the healing process, too. Keep the surgical site protected from the sun by covering it with bandages or loose clothing as directed by our team.

Change dressings as instructed

After your procedure, we give you instructions on when and how to change the dressings. Follow these guidelines closely to keep the wound clean and protected, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Apply topical ointments as instructed

We may prescribe antibiotic ointments or other topical medications after your surgery. These ointments are designed to aid in healing and prevent infections, so follow our instructions closely.

Watch for signs of complications

Although complications after Mohs surgery are rare, they can happen. Minor bleeding, swelling, and bruising are common immediately after surgery, but these symptoms should fade within a few days.

Contact our team if you notice symptoms like:

  • Prolonged bleeding
  • Increased swelling
  • Lingering redness or bruising
  • Warmth around the wound
  • Pus coming from the wound
  • Persistent numbness or sensitivity

It’s important to remember that every individual heals at their own pace, and it’s important to be patient during the process.

To learn more about Mohs surgery and what recovery might look like for you, call 201-836-9696 or book an appointment online with Advanced Laser and Skin Cancer Center today.