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Mohs surgery is among the most successful treatments for certain types of skin cancer, and it results in extraordinarily high success rates. But when patients in my Naperville-area dermatology practice schedule their procedure, they also want to know exactly what to expect in the hours, days, and weeks after surgery.

Because the extent of your Mohs surgery (i.e., how much skin and tissue we will need to remove) and the possible reconstruction can’t usually be determined before we begin, we can’t offer a precise timeline of the recovery. But here is a general overview to give you a better idea of what you can anticipate.

Immediately After

Mohs surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means that you’ll return home the same day as your surgery. There’s typically minor discomfort associated with Mohs surgery, but our patients almost always find over-the-counter pain medication to be sufficient.

A bit of swelling, bruising, and numbness around your surgery site are normal results of surgery, but these symptoms shouldn’t be severe enough to prevent you from engaging in normal, non-strenuous daily activities. However, you should take some time off from activities like working out. How much time you’ll need to take is something we’ll discuss once we know the particulars of your surgery.

Some symptoms, like excessive itching, bleeding, or signs of infection, can be cause for concern. If you experience any of these symptoms, we urge you to get in touch with us as soon as possible.


In the Long Term

It’s important to note that there is no “typical” when it comes to Mohs surgery, because every patient, Mohs procedure, and reconstruction is a little different. Some patients require only a suture to close their wound, while others may need a more tailored approach. The repair (reconstruction) of a Mohs defect is individualized. Factors that are considered include the location and size of the defect, and most importantly the goals and wishes of the patient.

After your cancer has been completely removed, we’ll review which approaches might suit you best. Keep in mind that no matter what, a scar in unavoidable. However, we can work together to minimize its appearance.