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What to Expect After Mohs Surgery for Skin Cancer

What to Expect After Mohs Surgery for Skin Cancer

About 20% of Americans can expect to deal with skin cancer by the time they reach the age of 70. Every hour, another two people die from skin cancer. While it’s one of the most treatable forms of the disease, skin cancer is still dangerous and deadly. Early detection and treatment is key to survival. 

When it comes to skin cancer, Mohs surgery is a powerful treatment that completely eliminates cancer at the site of a skin lesion. Focusing directly on the cancerous cells, your Mohs practitioner removes precise layers of skin and analyzes these for irregularities. If cancer cells are present, then they remove another layer. Surgery continues until a sample shows no evidence of cancer. 

Jennifer Baron, MD specializes in Mohs surgery, offering her services to patients in the San Jose, California, area. You’re assured that a cancerous lesion is gone and any needed reconstructive work is done before your surgical appointment is over. 

The Mohs surgery process

Suitable for many of the most common types of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and some types of melanoma, Mohs surgery is a complex and precise technique with high success rates. 

Unlike excision procedures that remove both the cancerous lesion and a wide margin of surrounding tissue, Mohs surgery concentrates on the cancer itself with a narrow surrounding margin. Excision tissue is sent to a medical lab for processing and evaluation, typically including only a small amount of the margin tissue. 

Each layer that Dr. Baron removes from your cancer site is fully evaluated immediately. If any cancerous cells are found, the process repeats. While painstaking and sometimes time consuming, Mohs surgery removes all signs of cancer while minimizing the amount of healthy tissue damage around the lesion. 

What to expect after Mohs surgery for skin cancer

The extent of your wound after Mohs surgery depends on the size and depth of the lesion that Dr. Baron removed. This dictates the next steps. If the cancerous lesion was small, then your wound may be able to heal naturally with bandages. 

Larger wounds could require stitches to promote healing while minimizing scar tissue. In some cases, skin flaps or grafts may be used to assist healing. Flaps borrow tissue around the site of your surgery, while skin grafts come from another location on your body. Any of these techniques may be combined, depending on the needs of your wound. 

After care tends to be simple. Dr. Baron and her team will give you any special care instructions. Pain from Mohs surgery tends to be minimal and easily handled with over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen. You’ll receive local anesthetics during the Mohs procedure itself. 

Scars from Mohs surgery can be slow to clear, often taking up to 18 months to fully heal. In the case of large wounds, scar revision could be an option later. 

Learn more about Mohs surgery and what you can expect by consulting with Dr. Baron. Book an appointment by phone at 408-214-1330. Early treatment for skin cancer produces the best results, so schedule your visit today. 

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