After Surgery

WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER THE SURGERY IS COMPLETE?

Pain: Most people are concerned about pain. You will experience remarkably little discomfort after your surgery. We will give you Tylenol after surgery and you may need additional Tylenol for 1 to 3 days after surgery. Unless prescribed by your physician, we urge you not to take aspirin or related products (ibuprofen) due to their blood thinning properties. Cold compresses will be recommended as well. Occasionally, a stronger pain medicine will be prescribed.

Bleeding: A small number of patients will experience some bleeding postoperatively. This bleeding can usually be controlled by the use of pressure. You should take a gauze pad and apply constant pressure over the bleeding point for 30 minutes: within that 30 minute window, do not lift up or relieve the pressure at any time. If bleeding persists, then resume direct pressure over the wound and call Dr. Thomas or visit a local Emergency Room. Dr. Thomas or a covering physician can be reached twenty-four hours a day by calling telephone numbers that will be given to you on the day of surgery.

Wound appearance: A small red area may develop surrounding your wound. This is normal and does not necessarily indicate infection. However, if this redness does not improve in two days or if the wound begins to drain pus, you should notify Dr. Thomas immediately. Itching and redness around the wound, especially in areas where adhesive tape has been applied, are not uncommon. Swelling and bruising are common following Mohs Surgery, particularly when it is performed around the eyes. This usually subsides within four to five days after surgery and may be decreased by the use of an ice pack in the first 24 hours. At times, the area surrounding your operative site will be numb to the touch. This area of anesthesia (numbness) may persist for several months or longer. In some instances, it may be permanent. If this occurs, please discuss it with Dr. Thomas at your follow up visit.

Although every effort will be made to offer the best possible cosmetic result, you will be left with a scar. The scar can be minimized by the proper care of your wound. We will discuss wound care in detail with you and give you Wound Care Information sheets which will explicitly outline how to take care of your wound.

What about follow up?

You should have your skin checked very closely by a dermatologist at six-month intervals. This is not only to check the surgical site as it is healing, but to check for the development of additional skin cancers. Our policy is for us to follow the majority of our patients until the wound has healed, and then they can continue to be followed by their referring dermatologist. We recommend long term follow up at intervals of six to 12 months, depending on the type of skin cancer, size, and location. Of course, any areas of your skin that change, fail to heal, or just concern you, should be brought to the attention of your dermatologist immediately. Your dermatologist will be able to adequately treat most skin cancers when they are detected early and are small.