© 2018 by Skin Cancer Day Surgery

Potential Complications

Bleeding

A little blood or seepage is normal and not a cause for alarm.  If you notice active bleeding (bandage is becoming soaked with blood) remove the bandage, elevate or rest the area and apply firm pressure over the area with dry gauze or clean cloth for 20 minutes.  If bleeding persists after continued pressure for 20 minutes, remain seated and repeat the pressure for another 20 minutes.  If this fails and bleeding continues, contact our office or the on-call numbers provided on the discharge form. 

 

Infection

Infection following surgery is uncommon.  A small amount of drainage on the bandage is to be expected.  In addition, a small red area may develop around your wound.  This is normal and does not indicate infection.  However, if the redness increases

and the wound becomes tender, warm or begins to drain pus, contact our nursing staff immediately.

 

Allergic reaction

Itching and redness around the wound can indicate allergy to suture or dressing materials such as tape adhesive or antiseptic ointment.  Following your surgery, you will be given specific instructions for wound care to minimize this risk.  If you experience itching or a rash on your body after you have started on oral antibiotics or prescribed pain medication, this may indicate a medication allergy.  If this occurs please discontinue the medication and contact us as soon as possible.

 

Numbness

It is common for the area around the surgery site to feel numb to the touch.  This area of numbness may persist for several months before returning to normal or near normal.  In rare instances, the area stays numb permanently.  In addition, some areas may be sensitive to temperature changes (eg. cold air) following surgery.  This sensitivity improves with time.

 

Itching

Patients frequently experience itching after their wounds have healed. 

 

Scarring

Any surgical treatment for skin cancer will leave a scar.  Mohs surgery will preserve as much normal skin as possible to maximize options for repairing the area where the skin cancer had been.  In general, a post-surgical scar improves with time and can take up to one year or more to fully mature.  As your surgical site heals, new blood vessels can appear to support the healing changes occurring underneath the skin.  This can result in a red appearance of the scar.  This change is temporary and will improve with time. 

 

In addition, the normal healing process involves a period of skin contraction, which often peaks at 4 – 6 weeks after the surgery.  This may appear as a bumpiness or hardening of the scar.  On the face, this change is nearly always temporary, and the scar will soften and improve over time.