A skin cancer diagnosis can be scary, but procedures like Mohs surgery are highly effective at treating some cancers. If your dermatologist has recommended Mohs surgery, you may wonder what to expect during and in the following weeks. Our certified dermatologists at Affiliated Dermatology have performed many of these procedures, so we want you to understand what the surgery entails and what you can expect from the recovery process.

What is Mohs Surgery?

Mohs surgery, developed by Dr. Frederic Mohs in the 1930s, is a common treatment for certain types of skin cancer. During the technique, a dermatologist removes cancerous tissue layer by layer until only cancer-free tissue remains. Each layer is removed and examined under a microscope to check for cancer cells. This allows the surgeon to determine when they’ve removed enough layers to eliminate the cancer.

Despite its age, Mohs surgery remains one of the most effective methods for removing cancer, boasting the highest cure rate among currently available treatments. Because it focuses on removing as little skin as possible, it’s especially useful in areas of the body that are cosmetically or functionally important.

How Much Can Mohs Surgery Cost?

Mohs surgery prices typically range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. In addition to factors that impact all prices, such as geographic location, the exact cost of Mohs surgery depends greatly on the complexity of the procedure and whether it’s performed in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Affiliated Dermatology will verify patient benefits and review expenses prior

to even scheduling.

The Mohs Surgery Recovery Process

The recovery process after Mohs surgery is typically uneventful. Immediately following the procedure, you may experience mild discomfort, swelling, or redness around the surgical site. These symptoms usually subside within a few days. The total healing time depends on the extent of the surgery and its location. The process can be sped up through careful wound care, including keeping the area clean, applying prescribed dressings, and taking recommended medications. The doctor will schedule follow-up visits to monitor the healing process and address complications.

How long should you rest after Mohs surgery?

Like the overall recovery process, the length of time you should rest after Mohs surgery depends a lot on the specifics of the surgery. While many patients can resume normal activities after a day or so, it’s still advisable to avoid any strenuous activities or direct exposure to the sun for at least a week following the surgery. This will minimize the chances of complications.

What not to do after Mohs surgery

As mentioned earlier, it’s important to avoid direct sunlight in the surgical area, refrain from strenuous activities, and follow any post-surgery care instructions from your dermatologist. In addition to using the medications the doctor recommends, avoiding non-prescribed creams or remedies is also a good idea, as these may cause infections or other adverse reactions.

Tips for healing after Mohs Surgery

After the surgery, your surgeon will provide you with a list of things you can do to ensure the healing process goes as smoothly as possible. The list may have some items that are specific to your condition. For most people, to improve the outcomes of the procedure, you should:

  • Keep the surgical area clean and dry
  • Adhere strictly to wound care instructions provided by your surgeon, including applying prescribed medications or dressings
  • Elevate the affected area to help reduce swelling
  • Avoid activities that could disrupt the wound
  • Ensure adequate protection against sun exposure
  • Attend all follow-up appointments

Consult With a Dermatologist About Mohs Surgery

If you have a skin cancer diagnosis or suspect you might have skin cancer, it’s vital to take action as quickly as possible. To determine whether Mohs surgery is viable for your skin cancer, contact us today for a consultation.


Image Credit: Sofia Zhuravetc, Shutterstock