Recovering from Mohs Surgery

Recovering from Mohs Surgery

You’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer. You’re preparing for Mohs surgery, the gold standard in treating skin cancers that appear in cosmetically sensitive places on your body. 

Not all dermatologists are trained in Mohs surgery. But at Seacoast Dermatology, our founder,  Dr. James Dinulos, is an experienced Mohs surgeon. In fact, he’s one of the first dermatologists to be board-certified by the American Board of Dermatology in the newly created subspecialty of Micrographic Surgery & Dermatologic Oncology. 

Mohs surgery is normally done on the following areas of your body: 

Those are places you don’t want a visible scar. It’s likely basal or squamous cell skin cancer, although Dr. Dinulos can treat some cases of early melanoma with a Mohs-like procedure.   

The advantage of Mohs surgery is that it affects a minimal amount of healthy tissue that surrounds the skin cancer when compared to other methods of surgery such as excision. As a result, Mohs surgery leaves very little visible scarring.  

Postoperative care after Mohs surgery 

There is some postoperative care after the procedure. Dr. Dinulos provides you with written instructions and follows up with you to ensure a normal recovery. Here’s an outline of what you need to know about recovering from Mohs surgery. 


Extra-strength Tylenol (acetaminophen) works well for most patients. Aspirin or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines with ibuprofen can increase the chance of bleeding. However, if there is still some pain the day after surgery, Dr. Dinulos may suggest that you alternate ibupofen with Tylenol for added relief.

Wound care 

You’ll have a bandage and will need to keep the area clean and dry for at least 24 hours after the procedure. 

Once a day, you clean the wound area. Wash your hands thoroughly before touching the bandage. Remove the bandage very carefully so you don’t pull the skin and open the wound. If there’s a gel covering over the wound, don’t remove it. 

Wash the wound area as instructed. Blot gently with a clean towel to dry. Your instructions may direct you to use a cotton swab to apply petroleum jelly over the wound. Place a new bandage over the wound after washing and drying the area. Dr. Dinulos tells you what kind of bandage to apply. 

A small amount of blood around the wound is normal. If the wound bleeds, apply pressure on the area for about 10 minutes. If you ever experience continued bleeding, call our office right away. 

After effects of Mohs surgery 

You may see bruising and swelling around the wound site, which is to be expected. At the one-week point, you should see a great improvement. Don’t worry if your eyelids swell from surgery on your nose or forehead. It’s normal. 

If the procedure was on the lower part of your face, swelling may extend down your neck. Apply an ice pack frequently for the first two days after surgery to reduce swelling. 

You have your stitches removed about a week after surgery. During that time, avoid bending over at the waist if your surgery was on your face or head. 

Avoid strenuous physical activity. Take a break from your workouts, and don’t lift any heavy objects. Dr. Dinulos lets you know when it’s safe to exercise.   

You’ll see great improvement at the site of the surgery within one month and better results over the course of the next few months. 

Call us to make an appointment for the most advanced treatment for skin cancer available today. We have offices in Portsmouth, Exeter, and Dover, New Hampshire.

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