Published: Sept. 20, 2010
Updated: Aug. 22, 2011
When the surgery is complete, there will be a defect or open wound in the area that the skin cancer occupied. This wound may be smaller or larger than you had anticipated. There are then three alternatives:
Discomfort, if it should occur with this procedure, is usually very mild and can be managed with ordinary Tylenol. A prescription pain medication is also frequently provided to make certain that you are comfortable in the initial hours following your surgery. Do not take aspirin or aspirin-containing products (Excedrin, Anacin, etc.) for post-operative pain relief, as they can promote bleeding.
A pressure dressing applied to the wound should be left on for one day to minimize swelling and bleeding. Although some minimal bleeding is typical, brisk bleeding after surgery is infrequent.
If brisk bleeding occurs, lie down, take some gauze or a dry washcloth, and apply firm pressure on the wound for 20 minutes. Do not remove the pressure prior to this period of time. If the bleeding persists, go to the nearest emergency room and call your physician.
Other problems that are infrequent include black and blue marks and swelling. These problems can particularly occur around the eyes, and they may last up to two to three weeks.
On rare occasions, if the skin cancer involves nerves of the skin, surgical removal can lead to numbness or muscle weakness in the area. This usually resolves within eight to 12 months, but the numbness may occasionally be permanent.
Remember, every surgical procedure produces scarring of some type. Although every attempt will be made to minimize and hide the scar, the extent of scarring depends on the size and depth of the cancer.
Please remember: this information provides a general guide to skin cancer and Mohs surgery. Please consult your physician if any questions arise.
Read more about Mohs surgery: