Facial reconstruction after skin cancer (Mohs) surgery
General overview of the Mohs surgery:
If you are having Mohs surgery for a skin cancer of the face, your doctor may talk to you about the need for a facial reconstruction procedure. Many patients have this repair surgery the same day as their Mohs surgery.
Why is facial reconstructive surgery necessary?
Mohs surgery is a very precise procedure to remove certain skin cancers. The doctor will very carefully remove tissue in the tumor area, and examines it to ensure that all cancer cells have been removed. This often involves cutting through several layers of skin tissue to ensure the remaining skin is free of cancer cells.
In some cases, Mohs surgery on the face can create large areas of skin and tissue loss that can cause disfiguring scars. A facial plastic surgeon is able to repair these Mohs surgery defects, in order to achieve the best possible cosmetic result.
How the service is done:
The Mohs surgery and facial reconstruction surgery are typically performed in the surgeon’s office under a local anesthesia. If the defect is very small, the repair will take less than an hour.
Larger, more complex areas may require an operating room. The doctors utilize various techniques to create an excellent cosmetic result. The patients are typically pleased with the results of their reconstructions.
What methods are used:
To begin, the area is numbed with lidocaine, a local anesthetic that reduces pain. During the procedure, patients typically feel a little pressure but no pain.
The surgeon uses various techniques to reconstruct Mohs surgery defects. A common technique is called a local flap, which involves using skin next to the defect for coverage. The surgeon will make careful incisions to move the adjoining skin over the defect.
In some cases, a skin graft is used to cover the defect. The source of skin might be near the ear or at the base of the neck. To correct very complex defects on the nose, multiple surgeries may be involved.
Are there any side-effects:
Most patients experience very little pain after the Mohs facial reconstruction procedure. You may require nothing more than extra-strength Tylenol for the next day or two. However, some patients do need a prescription strength pain medication if tender areas were involved in surgery. Talk to your doctor about this.
IMPORTANT: Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen the first few days after surgery because they can increase your risk of bleeding.
Follow-up treatments or next steps:
In most cases, recovery will take less than one week. Your sutures will be removed during that week. While the scar will fully heal during the next year, the scar’s appearance will look well-healed within the first two or three weeks. Talk to your doctor about using scar cream and sunscreen to help minimize the scar.
Contact our office:
To find out more about our Mohs Cancer and Facial Reconstruction Surgery service, visit Dr. Schneiderman’s office located at 215 Union Avenue – Suite C, Bridgewater, NJ 08807, or book an appointment by calling us at (908) 725-5050.