Mohs surgery is performed to remove basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. This skin cancer treatment is performed using local anesthesia on an outpatient basis, so there are minimal side effects. One major concern many patients facing Mohs surgery have, however, is scarring. Although scarring is a possibility, there are many things your dermatologist can do to help you minimize the impacts. Here’s what you need to know:
Why does Mohs surgery cause scarring?
During Mohs surgery, your physician will remove thin layers of skin cells in the area in which you have a carcinoma. During the procedure, he or she will remove a layer of cells, test those cells for cancer, and if abnormal cells are present, remove another layer of cells. Your physician will repeat this process until no cancerous cells are present in the skin he or she removes. Although this approach spares as much of your healthy skin as possible, the incision inevitably leaves behind a scar.
How prominent will the scar be?
The appearance of a scar after Mohs surgery depends on a number of different factors, including the location of the incision and how many excisions were required. Immediately after the procedure, the site of the incision is likely to be prominent, but it will fade significantly over time. It takes about a year for the skin around the incision to heal completely, at which point you will see what the final appearance of the scar will be.
Can scars be treated?
You can reduce the impact of your Mohs surgery scar by following your doctor’s aftercare instructions, eating a healthy diet, shielding the scar from the sun, and not smoking. Your dermatologist can recommend several strategies to improve the appearance of a scar, including laser therapy, steroid injections, and dermabrasions.
After Mohs surgery for skin cancer treatment, your dermatologist at Arlington Dermatology can help you with cosmetic treatments to improve the appearance of your scar. Learn more about our cosmetic dermatology services in Arlington by calling 847-392-5440.