Guide to Skin Cancer & Mohs Procedure

Significant defects may result following skin cancer excision, including those excised by the dermatologist using Mohs micrographic surgery. Commonly called Mohs procedure, this procedure entails progressive removal and examination of single layers of skin until only cancer-free tissue remains. Following Mohs surgery, many patients require plastic surgical reconstruction of the nose, ear, and face. Reconstruction of these defects is dependent on the site and extent of the defect, but may include the use of flaps or skin grafts. Although any incision through the skin will result in a scar, plastic surgeons are specially trained in techniques to minimize the visibility of a scar.


The procedure may be performed under local anesthesia or general anesthesia depending on the extent of the defect and the planned surgery.

Before surgery

  • Avoid taking aspirin, Advil, Motrin, or other aspirin-containing products for two weeks.
  • If you are a smoker, stop smoking to aid in healing.


  • You will likely go home the same day after surgery.
  • Leave dressings on as instructed by your surgeon.
  • Avoid strenuous activity.
  • Some swelling and bruising is expected.
  • Bruising and swelling usually dissipate within two to three weeks.
  • Most patients resume their normal routines within a week to ten days.
  • Most swelling subsides within a few weeks, although complete resolution of swelling can take several months.

Reconstruction may require several procedures and your surgeon will advise you as to the timing of the planned procedures.

For more information about our research with skin grafts.

Next Steps

If you are in need of a reconstructive procedure, our team is here to help. Call us at (212) 305-3103 or request an appointment online.