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How Can I Minimize My Mohs Surgery Scar?

How Can I Minimize My Mohs Surgery Scar?

Every hour, nearly 400 people in the United States learn they have skin cancer.  Treatment usually includes surgery to remove the cancerous lesion. 

Mohs surgery, also called Mohs micrographic surgery, is one of the most effective surgical treatments for skin cancer, with a high cure rate (meaning the cancer is less likely to come back). However, it can leave behind a surgical scar.

At Associated Skin Care Specialists, our team includes board-certified Mohs surgeons who are leaders in the field of dermatologic surgery. They take great care when removing the skin cancer, but surgical scars are part of the healing process and are expected to some degree.

In this month’s blog, we want to talk about how you can care for your Mohs surgery scar and lessen its effects on your appearance.

Mohs surgery: what happens

Mohs surgery is a highly specialized surgical technique that removes skin cancer one layer at a time. 

Skin cancer is like an iceberg. The visible portion is the tip, and the rest of the tumor lies under the skin, with the actual depth unknown. 

During Mohs surgery, our skilled surgeons remove the visible part of the skin cancer and then a thin layer of skin underneath. They examine the layer under a microscope to look for cancer cells. If they find cancer, the surgeons remove another layer of skin and examine it.

The surgeons repeat this process until they reach the layer of skin that’s cancer-free. Mohs surgery stops where the cancer stops, removing the cancerous tissue without damaging any of the surrounding healthy tissue.  

Expect scarring

One of the benefits of Mohs surgery is that it doesn’t damage healthy skin. In fact, it’s the treatment of choice for lesions found in highly visible areas like the face. But that doesn’t mean it’s a scar-free procedure.

Scarring is part of the body’s healing process and something you can expect following Mohs surgery. The human body is programmed to heal itself following injury. When you have an open wound, your skin works to heal the site as quickly as possible, depositing collagen fibers to rejoin the injured skin. Scars initially contract then relax with time. It is normal for scars to be red at first, but they gradually fade over time.

Following the removal of your skin cancer, our surgeons will discuss with you the best solutions for healing the site. This may include allowing the wound to heal on its own, suturing the wound in a linear fashion, or using more advanced flaps and skin grafts. Your surgical team will give detailed wound care instructions for you following surgery. The surgical site always looks worse before it looks better. Patience is needed in the postoperative period for your skin to heal and the scar to mature.

How to improve surgical scars

Time is the best remedy for getting rid of your Mohs surgery scar. Initially, your surgical scar may be hard and cause the skin to contract. Within a month or two, your skin softens, and the scar fades. Your doctor will recommend massaging the scar frequently and may suggest a scar gel to help massage.  In addition, it is important to use sunscreen to protect the new skin of the scar from ultraviolet damage. It can take up to two years for a Mohs surgery scar to fully mature.

If you have a history of abnormal scarring, we may recommend injections, laser therapy, or some other treatment following the Mohs surgery to ensure the best possible aesthetic results. We also provide personalized wound care instructions to minimize scarring. If your Mohs surgery scar causes pain or affects movement, we may recommend scar surgery.

The Mohs surgeons of Associated Skin Care Specialists are dedicated to delivering the highest quality care to our patients. We appreciate the trust you place in us.

We offer expert dermatology care at our offices in Blaine, Maple Grove, Coon Rapids, Eden Prairie, Fridley, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Call the location closest to you to schedule your consultation. 

We also have an office in New Brighton, Minnesota, which houses our dermatopathology practice and our dermatology research division.

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