Mohs Surgery

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Cancer 101: Cancer Explained

What is the recovery time for Mohs surgery? Is Mohs painful?

Recovery is usually very easy and uneventful. Overall, resting as much as possible the first few days after surgery is helpful.

Stitches (sutures) are usually removed at the surgeon's office anywhere from four to 14 days from the date of surgery. Your physician will let you know what date to return for stitch removal.

Most patients report minimal discomfort after surgery and require minimal or no pain medication.

If there is pain, many patients find that they prefer to take something for pain at the first hint of discomfort instead of waiting until the pain builds up to an unbearable level. If you have mild or moderate pain, your doctor may advise you to take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or another pain reliever over the counter. Aspirin or aspirin-containing pain relievers may cause increased bleeding. Rarely, prescription pain medications may be required for severe pain.

Your physician will let you know what pain medications are recommended for your specific condition.

Most patients are able to return to work or school the next day after Mohs. Avoiding heavy lifting, straining, or strenuous exercise for seven to 21 days may be required depending on the area of surgery. Your physician will need to let you know what activity precautions are required based on the area and size of your procedure.

You may go out in the sun with sunscreen and protective hats and clothing. Excess sun exposure has been linked to skin cancer. Use of sunscreen or other cover-up on the scar is very helpful for at least six months after surgery to help minimize scarring. It is important to follow your own physician's instructions for wound care and sun protection.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/3/2016

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