Dr. Paul Dreschnack
14 E.69th Street
Call Us At: 888-560-4045
What You Should Know About Reconstruction After Mohs Surgery
What is Mohs Surgery?
Mohs micrographic surgery was developed by Dr. Frederic E. Mohs in the 1930’s as a technique to help skin cancer patients retain as much of their skin tissue as possible when tumors were removed. It is used most often in the treatment of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, but may be used occasionally for other types of skin cancers as well.
The standard method of removing skin cancer tumors involves removing the cancerous tissue as well as a surrounding portion of healthy tissue to ensure that all cancer cells are removed. Mohs surgery also removes the cancerous area, but then takes the initiative to remove the surrounding tissue one microscopic layer at a time, examining each layer under the microscope until no more cancerous cells remain. In this way, the maximum amount of healthy tissue is spared, and scarring kept to a minimum.
Is Mohs Surgery Effective?
The overall cure rate for basal and squamous cell carcinoma using Mohs surgery is quite impressive, at around 98%. It is a highly effective procedure, that has withstood the test of time.
Why is reconstruction necessary?
Unfortunately, while Mohs surgery does minimize damage to the facial area as much as possible, significant scarring is often necessitated by the extent of the cancer. Portions of the nose, mouth, face or ears may have to be removed, leaving an unsightly countenance. Reconstruction repairs this damage using a variety of techniques including skin grafting and suturing.
Can reconstruction restore my original appearance?
The skill of your surgeon combined with the size and placement of the scarring will impact your end results. However, in many cases, reconstruction has produced significant improvement. Although complete healing may take some time, the end results are usually quite satisfying, and restore a pleasing aesthetic to the recipient.
Is this an outpatient procedure, or will I have to stay in the hospital?
If your tumor was large, and the reconstruction work needed is extensive, then hospitalization may be necessary. However, in most instances, reconstruction after Mohs surgery can be completed as an outpatient procedure using only local anesthesia.
What is the length of recovery time?
Each reconstruction varies, depending on the extent of the repair required, however, as a general rule, your sutures should be removed in around one week, with most of the initial redness and swelling diminished after around two or three weeks. The entirety of the healing process may take up to one year for scars to properly fade. The use of a medical grade scar cream may improve the overall results.
What are the risks of reconstruction after Mohs surgery?
One of the primary risks of any reconstructive surgery is that you will be unsatisfied with the results. If the original scarring is very large, it may not be possible to fully restore the original appearance.
In addition, there are the risks of bleeding, pain and infection which are factors in every surgical procedure.
There may be other risks, specific to your condition, which your surgeon will discuss with your prior to surgery.
Do you need reconstruction after Mohs surgery?
Dr. Paul A. Dreschnack, M.D., is a highly skilled cosmetic surgeon with over 30 years experience. If you need reconstruction after Mohs surgery, call today and request a consultation.
Patient Education Articles