First developed in the early 1930s, Mohs surgery is essentially a surgical procedure that removes cancerous patches of skin in phases or layers. If you, or someone close to you, has developed skin cancer, there is a good chance that they will undergo Mohs surgery. You may have a few questions about the procedure. This brief guide should serve to assuage any fears you may have about the process and answer a few of the aforementioned questions.

How Long Will The Procedure Last?

The answer to this question depends on a number of contingencies; namely how developed the cancer is and how much skin it has covered. The process also may take a bit longer due to the fact that the surgery may take place in multiple stages. Generally speaking, the process can take upwards of four hours to complete. A large amount of time may also be spent in a waiting room or lounge, so it is often recommended that the patient bring along something to read or help pass the time.

Are There Any Side Effects Of The Surgery?

There are a few common side effects. Your skin may develop a "halo" of redness around it. This is normal and simply indicative of a bit of inflammation. You may also develop a rash. If this is the case, get in contact with your local dermatological office as soon as possible, as this is usually a sign that you are allergic to the medical tape or antibacterial ointment used to treat the closed wound. If the surgery has taken place on the face, especially close to the eyes, expect excessive swelling and redness. Some rare long term side effects can take place, as well. Occasionally, nerves will be damaged during the surgery, causing a bit of numbness in the area that was treated.

Will Bleeding Occur After The Surgery?

It is rare that bleeding will occur after surgery, but it may happen. If it does occur, put pressure on the area that is bleeding for upwards of twenty to thirty minutes. If the bleeding persists, or if the wound intermittently bleeds without warning, then it is best to call the office from where you received the surgery in order to receive steps on how to proceed.

Mohs surgery is one of the most common forms of skin cancer surgery. Hopefully, this brief primer has answered a few questions you had about the process.