As I write this review, I am 4 days post-op...
As I write this review, I am 4 days post-op (surgery date: 8/19/14) following MOHs surgery to remove a small spot on my nose, that was found to be cancerous - basal cell carcinoma (BCC). I've had this spot for about 2 years before I did anything about it. Before the procedure, it could be characterized as a small pimple-like sore that would bleed, scab over, heal a bit and then bleed all over again. I am an R.N. (inactive) and I feel I should have known better and done something sooner. Yes, I knew better, but on some level I didn't want to face the truth - and the consequences. I was clearly in denial. Gentle reader, I urge you to not delay one day if you find yourself in the same situation.
I am incredibly lucky. It took just two MOHs "slices" to get it all. (MOHs involves taking slices of the affected tissue, followed by an approximately 1.5 hour wait while the excised tissue/cells are examined under a microscope. The goal there is to determine if a slice captured it all - or if additional slices are required.) In all, I spent about 5 hours from the time I arrived at the doctors office, to the time my procedure was complete. I was able to leave the office to get a cup of coffee and something to eat (you do not need to be fasting/NPO for MOHs - at least I didn't).
My suture line is about 1-inch in length and lies on the upper left sidewall, close to the dorsal area. (I describe is as an area where one might have a left-side nose piercing.) The suture line is clean and is comprised of eight (8) tiny stitches. To me, it's considerable and a bit unsightly to look at, but I've seen enough "before and after" photos to know, this is naturally the worst part of the recovery process. Even at 4 days, I am seeing improvement, and I feel this is owing in large part to diligently following my post-op instructions.
One thing I did add to my recovery phase is taking sublingual arnica montana to assist with the pain, swelling and bruising. It's homeopathic, over-the-counter and can be found online or in stores (like Whole Foods). Very effective.
Day 8 Post-O
Stitches out on day 7. Here I am at day 8. I cannot see the scar. I do have some subtle discoloration and dryness on the nose, but otherwise, people do not realize I've had anything done to my nose. Very, very thankful and satisfied.
2 Weeks Post-Op: MOHs on Tip Of Nose: Discolored and numb
Over the course of the past 9 days or so, my nose has become discolored. Kind of a bluish/dark red. I noticed a small amount of this discoloration at day #5 mid-sutureline. The surgical site continues to be slightly raised and is numb to the touch. While I'm not concerned, I have a follow-up appointment with my surgeon coming up in a few weeks and plan to discuss this with her.
One thing that people can apparently expect with MOHs surgery on the nose is a possible nostril life. I can see it on my own nose. However, I seem to be the only one who notices it and seems to be a small price to pay for excising and closing the affected area.
18 Days Post-Up: Discoloration & Numbness Persist/Improving Slowly; Concern for Other Areas of Prolonged Exposure
I had my first "public appearance" at work this week and my business partners (emphatically) remarked that they could honestly not detect that anything was done to my nose. Several others in my "inner circle" have also said the same thing - several times. The numbness and slight discoloration/bruising persists, but I think it's lessening. I can still detect a slight raised area over the scar line but it feels like it's flatter. Continuing to cover up like a vampirette. I walk my dogs outside in the AM and we keep a can of SPF 70 spray-on sunscreen by the front door, along with my wide-brim hat. It bothers me that direct sunlight hits the side of my face while driving my car, but at least the sunscreen is shielding me. The Skin Cancer Foundation has this to say about sun exposure while driving: "The sun's ultraviolet radiation is associated with most cases of skin cancer, which will affect one in five Americans over a lifetime. UV radiation reaches us in the form of shortwave UVB and long-wave UVA rays, but glass blocks only UVB effectively. Although car windshields are partially treated to filter out UVA, the side windows let in about 63 percent of the sun's UVA radiation; rear windows are also unprotected, leaving back seat passengers exposed. There is, however, a solution. Transparent window film screens out almost 100 percent of UVB and UVA without reducing visibility, and is available in all 50 states. If you have window film installed, remember that it protects you only when the windows are closed."
1-Month Post-Op: Discoloration and Numbness Persist But Improving
The discoloration reported previously at 2 weeks persists but is not as noticeable. The surgical site continues to be slightly raised over the scar line and is still numb to the touch from midline of my nose to the top of the "supra alar crease" (http://www.cce100.com/human-nose-body/nose-anatomy)
1-Month Post-Op/Follow-Up w/ Surgeon
I had a one-month follow-up appointment this week (9.25.14) with my surgeon, and it went very well. I reported the continuing redness and some mild discoloration at the surgical site to her, and she said it's normal. She advised that eventually, the discoloration will go away completely. I also asked her about the high risk of BCC returning (I have a 50% chance!) and she said that it will not likely return on my nose - a huge relief. I continue to be very satisfied with what started out (for me personally) as a scary undertaking of unknown/uncertain outcomes.