Tell me about recovery from Moh's surgery

So, I am scheduled in November to have Moh’s surgery to remove a small basal cell carcinoma on the side of my chin. While I know that this is rather common, I’m quite the coward when it comes to cutting and blood (especially mine) so I am stressing out about this as I don’t know what to expect.

What I’ve googled has been rather general; it seems that a lot of my questions are answered “it depends”, such as, will I need stitches, can I go to work the next day or will I need to rest/look like hell, is it a big honking bandage or just a band-aid, if I have stitches will they self-dissolve or do I have to go back for removal, etc.

I understand that it truly does depend on the size of the carcinoma, size of the incision, location, and so forth; but I’d like to hear from other Dopers who have had this done and lived to tell the tale :wink:

Details, please - besides the questions I have above, things like, how long did it take, how long did you sit in the waiting room for the results to come back, etc.? I appreciate any reassurance!

I don’t think it was technically Moh’s surgery, but when my dermatologist cut my melanoma mole out, I literally drove strait from his office to referee a high school football game. I did the whole game with a padded bandage about the size of my palm on my chin/jaw. I switched to an over-sized Band-Aid a day later and continued to ref football games until the season ended.

I experienced zero pain after the local injection. The way I could tell he was done cutting was that I could feel him yanking the skin around while sewing back up. No pain, just movement. He used self-dissolving stitches underneath and skin glue on the surface. I healed very quickly.

My procedure only took a few minutes, as we didn’t do any testing in between cutting, so that part I can’t help you with.

I’ve had had three go-rounds with Mohs to cut out melanomas. Two were really small (on my back and arm) and the surgeries took about 5 minutes. In those cases, they verified the margins were clear while I was there, put a stitch in, stuck a band aid on, and I was done.

The third melanoma was on my cheek. They scooped out a larger chunk that required temporary stitches and a large dressing while I waited a day for the margin report. I had to wait until the next day for the margin report. When it came back clean, I had a small amount of plastic surgery that required a few stitches and a half-dollar-sized dressing, but it barely left a scar.

They numbed me up really well each time, all I felt were tugs and pinches. They gave me Vicodin for the post-surgery pain, which worked like a charm. The worst part for me was all the “what if” thinking that went along with the whole experience. (The second-worse part: the plastic surgeon making me take a look at the hole in my cheek before he started–:eek:)

Thanks blondebear, this helps a lot. I will make sure to tell the surgeon I don’t want to see anything! I would pass out right there on the table! :eek:

Why did you have to wait a day for the results for the last one? I was under the impression they do it while you wait (like an oil change).

I never thought about them using surgical glue. Did you have much of a scar? I am afraid that, instead of a bump on my chin/cheek, I’ll have a divot.

relative had some done, life of lots of sun.

it tends to be good in that it only whats necessary.

stayed in office while tests were done before finishing. some, on flatter area, were short time and small bandage.

I think it might have been because the job was a little more involved because of the size and location. (Maybe the surgery team was booked for other similar procedures after me?) They had already scheduled me the first appointment the next morning for possible follow-up surgery. Since the margins were clear, they sent me right across the hall for the plastic surgery.

I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from my right submandibular area (under the jaw). My dermatologist still wonders why it popped up on a area that does not get sun…

Mohs surgery took most of the day. I had two sessions in the waiting room while they read the results. Simple shots of local anesthetic prevented any pain during the procedure–which took place on a sort of dentist’s chair.

Went to work the next day with my jaw & neck concealed by a huge bandage. There was no serious pain but the swelling became uncomfortable–until it stopped, on the day I removed the dressing. There was a small incision, stitched up. Which I had to clean with plain water, applied using a Q-tip, when I changed the dressing. The “dressing” was a plain gauze pad, held on with paper tape; the tape irritated my skin, giving me the worst “pain” of the whole procedure. Went back to the doctor to have the stitches removed, the incision is invisible.

They might take more time reading results when melanoma is involved…

My original scar healed quite nicely. It was visible, but not particularly noticeable right along my jawline near my ear.

That’s gone now, replaced with new and bigger surgical scars. I haven’t even gotten the stitches out yet, so we’ll see how it goes.