Reconstruction After Mohs Surgery

Treatment for skin cancer has improved over the years, due in large part to the development of Mohs surgery, a technique that removes small layers of skin until the surgeon determines no skin cancer cells are left. That way, enough skin is taken to be safe but no more than is needed. As a result, skin cancers are less likely to return and possible scarring and disfigurement are lessened. If you have this surgery, you may need to have some sort of reconstructive work done. Before you go in for the Moh's surgery, you should know your options.

Secondary Intention and Primary Closure

Secondary intention simply means allowing your Mohs wound to heal itself. If the opening is small, it may heal with only a small scar. This option works better in some areas than in others. If your surgery is on a very visible part of your face, you may want to choose another method. However, a small scar on your back or arm may be acceptable to you. In general, your wound will heal without complications in four to six weeks. When your wound is slightly larger, you may need stitches to close it, known as primary closure. You should not have much of a scar in this instance, but some signs of the surgery may remain.

Local Flap and Skin Grafts

In some cases, you may have a large amount of skin removed, a sensitive issue when the procedure takes place on your face. You may need a large patch of skin taken from your nose or cheek, which is quite noticeable. Fortunately, your surgeon can use several methods to correct this issue. Sometimes they will take skin next to the wound and leave one end attached to the blood supply. The other end will be extended over the opening and will eventually attach completely, usually creating a good cosmetic result. You may need a skin graft taken from another part of your body and placed over the wound. You will end up with some sort of scar, but a skilled dermatologist or plastic surgeon can ensure that it is minimally visible. 

Skin cancer is still a serious issue, but the treatment for it is more sophisticated than it was even a few years ago. Your physician may be able to remove the tumor and repair the wound in one appointment. If not, they can later employ methods that will give you an excellent cosmetic result. 

For more information, contact a doctor such as Henry E. Wiley, III, M.D.