July 1, 2014 - MOHs Surgery on Nose - 45 Year Old Female - Phoenix, AZ

I have had malignant melanoma in the past, so skin...

I have had malignant melanoma in the past, so skin cancers are a part of my life. But, this time, it was more concerning because it was on my face! At first, I was relieved to hear that it "was only bcc" and not melanoma, so I immediately discounted it to not a big deal. Then, after reasearching MOHs, I became totally freaked out and overwhelmed.

Many people said, "Quit looking at the internet" and such, but for me, I had to be educated before I went in. Although it may have made me more nervous, I felt educated and was ready for the worst case scenario. I think if I hadn't been ready, I would have been totally freaked out in the end. Thankfully, I only had one layer removed and was relieved. However, the repair with the skin flap resulted in more cutting and stitches, but again, I was ready for this after my research.

Overall, I was relieved and pleased with the results on the day of the surgery. Now, just need to go through the healing process and be patient while things heal.

Day 2

I woke up with my left eye fairly swollen and hard to open fully for a few hours, and my left cheek was swollen and slightly bruised. It was not necessarily painful, just swollen. I was able to get a shower and change my bandage, no problem. I am still very pleased with the results and anxious to get the stitches out next week. They said that once the stitches come out, the healing with progress quickly for the first two weeks or so and there should be significant improvement.

Day 7 - Stitches Removed

Today was the one week mark and they removed my stitches. I am still pleased with the results and looking forward to the healing. I will have red, bumpy, and swelling for quite a while, but I am hoping that I can cover it okay with some makeup. I am feeling much better today.

I hope that these posts are helpful to others whom are dealing with the idea of MOHs and trying to get more educated on the various possibilities and outcomes. I did a lot of research prior to my surgery and for me, it was helpful...and, yes, very concerning.

3 Weeks - Post Surgery

Makeup helps and most people don't readily notice it, but it is still very bumpy, rough, and red. And, my nose is still swollen, which they said will take several months to go down. But, I am getting more used to it and able to go out in public for work and not be too worried. This is definitely a long healing process.

1 Month Post Surgery (Vaseline is my friend)

Many have asked questions about how it looks now, and specifically, how long the redness/swelling sticks around. My last few pics have been with makeup on, so I thought I would post one with no makeup. I hope I haven't frightened too many of you with my no makeup self :)
Yes, my nose is a slick mess! When I am home, I try to keep it covered with Vaseline....a lot! They say it is critical to the healing and getting the skin to go down, so I am trying to keep up with that.
It is still red and a little swollen, but amazing for just shy of five weeks.
To everyone out there reading this whom have surgeries in the future, I wish you all the best and remember that it may be better than you think. This my only goal and the reason why I even joined this site. I hope it has helped calm at least one person's fears.
Dr. Ochoa

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I'm scheduled now for MOHs and reconstruction, I'm flying out today. Really nervous, but more excited to get it down. My procedure is August 21.;)
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Hi everyone....I had my MOHS Surgery today! It went better than I expected. The doc only took a smallish shallow section (I did not see it). He used a skin graft from the inside of my right ear to cover the wound. The skin graft was left open to heal, covered with Polysporin and a telfa dressing. Instructions to use a mixture of vinegar and water to cleanse the graft site, then Polysporin, etc.. There is a cotton ball sewn to the nose, over the graft, to provide pressure, and that will stay on until the stitches come out , in one week. I was very happy that they got the tumor all in the first slice! I will be anxious to see the actual graft next week, and hope it heals well. If it is bumpy or whatever, they will do dermabrasion later on. Will keep you posted, and will include pics when I figure it out ! WinnerL
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Sorry, My first comment was a bit unclear...the donor graft site on my ear was left open, covered with Polysporin, a small patch of telfa, and tape to cover it. They said it would take about 8 weeks to heal that. It was recommended to use a vinegar-water solution to soak it once a day, followed by poly, and telfa etc. It is hard for me to see it in the mirror. The nose hurt a bit yesterday, only extra strength Tylenol for pain, and not so bad today. Hard to yawn! There was a bit of bleeding under the dressing yesterday, hope it is ok. The pressure dressing stays on til next Wed when I go to get the stitches out. I imagine the graft will be much lighter in colour than my nose, hopefully with time it will blend in. Will keep you posted as to how the graft takes.
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Thinking of you today and your procedure. Prayers for the best results possible and a speedy recovery! Please let us know how you are doing.
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Great news! Glad to hear it was better than expected, as I am sure that was a huge relief! Post some pics when you feel up to it, and until then, relax and take care of yourself :)
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Im 20 years old and soon having MOHS, im so scared. I looked at the procedure and am worried about the scar after, not discoloration but indented skin...Its on my nose after all and i am terrified. Your journey has helped me alot, Ive been crying on my own for a few days thinking about how disfigured i am going to be, but you've relieved me.My family are in japan so im all alone on this one as an international student in uk... thank you.
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Thank you so much , FL2AZSun, for posting the updates, and for the pics. I am so glad I found this forum, the knowledge is very important! Does anyone know if plain Vaseline is better than Polysporin? I am not sure which one to use.
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I am having MOHS on my nose Aug. 20, in less than 3 weeks. I have not seen the surgeon yet, was referred by my dermatologist, had a recurrence of BCC, in just abou the same place as yours. I am in Canada, so insurance covers it. I am terrified, and my nerves and anxiety have caused old IBS symptoms to flare up. I live alone, retired, age 63, and am concerned about how long it will take to heal. We have very cold winters here, and wonder how that will affect the nose. I have been reading on-line about the process, and yes, I am pretty worried. I used to work in a hospital, and am not squeamish, but wonder about how I will sleep, etc (usually sleep on right side). I have many concerns, and not too much help. I am glad to have found this site, and will keep reading. Thank you for the pictures. Oh, how did you bandage the nose, and how long did you keep it covered? Thanks
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Hello, I am a 66 year old female who had MOHS surgery in exactly the same place on my nose on February 4th of 2014. I had to have 2 cuts to remove all the cancer. My surgeon did the repair immediately afterwards. She created a bi-fold flap and closed it with internal stitches. Even though the full healing takes a year or two, I am extremely thrilled with the results. I don't have any stitching scars and the color match is perfect. There is still some swelling from the internal stitches so the surgeon advised me to use special cream, silicone bandages and massage. It has only been a few days since I've been doing this regimen and I can already see amazing results. No one seems to notice my nose at this stage. I think I had to keep the bandage on for about a week or less only when I went outside. Your doctor will give you specific instructions. It appears that each doctor has their own suggestions for recovery. Mine suggested Aquafor usage and I was thrilled with this over the counter product. Some doctors suggest Vaseline. Even though petroleum jelly is the major component of Aquafor, it also has other ingredients that made my entire face very smooth and moisturized. I, too, was very fearful of looking like a monster after looking at all the photos on the Internet. I was happy that I educated myself but even happier that my defect was small compared to the ones I saw online. Every day I feel so lucky to wake up cancer free after a relatively simple excision and no chemo or radiation. I know without a doubt that your worries will be over soon and you will resume your life in full. Best Wishes, Beverly
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Thank you for posting this. It is good to read about positive results. I do not think Aquaphor is available in Canada, I checked for that product before, for something else. What are silicone bandages, and where do you get them? Also, I am curious about the initial dressing changes, I was told I will need to do them twice a day til the stitches come out. Was it difficult to make a dressing to cover the nose? I have a supply of Telfa 2x3 (non-adherent dressing), sterile gauze 3x3, and various tapes. My skin is quite sensitive to adhesives, so have tested a few of them. Hopefully the clinic will direct me a bit on this. I am prepared to have to deal with a sore, red nose for this winter coming up. Here on the prairies in Canada, we have extreme cold for at least 4 months. Any info is most appreciated. Cheers!
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im so glad you are happy with your results and your surgeon. They all seem to have different ideas as to what to do regarding closing or not closing etc. Sometimes I wonder if they wantit to close and heal on its own because they arenot sure of their ability. Mine after three weeks still is a dark hole - I keep it filled with ointment and covered twice a day with new. I have another that will be done in two days on the other side and this one looks like it was just done...... Im so tired of these mohs surgeries.
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My surgery is set for Aug. 22, MOHs for lentigo melanoma in situ, which means it's not invasive at this time Praise The Lord. My Dr. has a video which describes his aftercare kit. He recommends cleaning sutures with hydrogen peroxide with cotton tip applicators . This prevents scab formation which causes scaring. Drying and then applying polysporin ointment, and covering with telfa. He says keep it clean moist and covered. Hope I'm ready for all this. Easy to say till it's your face.;)
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I can totally understand and relate to be nervous leading up to the surgery, as I was a bundle of nerves and in tears the entire night before and the morning of. So, don't beat yourself up about that. I have had great results with the healing. It seems that once the stitches came out, it sped up the healing process. Of course, there are layers of stitches underneath, so the swelling and redness are still there a bit, but it has improve immensely. At 9 days after surgery, and just 2 days after the stitches came out, I had to go to a customer meeting. I was beside myself worried, but I put on some makeup and it didn't look half bad. I apologized for my "crusty" nose and they said they did not notice, and I actually believe them. For the bandaging, it was a challenge, I must admit. I had to cut down the telfa strip and gauze and take it the best I could. After a couple of days, I realized that just the tefla strips covered with two bandaids was much easier and less bulky. It may take a couple of tries, but you will find what works best for you. KEEP IT MOIST and KEEP IT COVERED!
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Good luck ORN93.... Where on your face is it? The more I read the more scared I am, as I can feel where the lumpy part is on my nose, just to right of centre and towards the nasal. on the right side, and I think it is at least the size of a dime, if not more. Nothing visible on the surface really, but for the change in color over the past couple yrs. kind of whitish. It is also a bit numb and spongy feeling. I have not met the surgeon yet, I only see him the morning of! So no idea at all what I will be dealing with. I only pray I don't need a pedicle flap! I would still like to see pics or video of how folks make the dressing to cover the nose, and best ways to tape it down. I need to get more tape and telfa. I don't think the clinic here provides anything to take home. My anxiety levels are really high, friends say not to worry! How to do that? One breath at a time....
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Please keep us posted on your surgery and how you are doing afterwards. And, try not to worry yourself too much between now and then, but trust me, I totally understand. I think using the peroxide is probably good and wish I would have. My doctor said only soap and water, but I did have some scabs near the suture holes, and think peroxide would have helped. YES, YES, YES on the ointment and covering. I am not covering mine any longer, but as soon as I get my makeup off after the workday, I grease up my nose with Vaseline. It is a little gross, but supposedly it really helps.
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Thanks FLA2AZsun for helping us all share in this. It helps not to feel so alone. I'm vacationing in Fla now and feel like an odd hermit or a vampire in my huge hat and sunglasses and 100+SPF sunscreen. ;) I feel like a sunphob since mine is right on my cheekbone, definately solar damage. Pool at night is great, and my hubby can't sleep in because we have to get out before the worse rays. It's really sweet how they are being sensitive about it. I'm so glad that your healing well and people aren't noticing as much. I know that mine is already good size probly two pencil erasers wide, so I'm hoping either is not really deep or my Dr. Can hide it well in my smile lines next to my eyes. (Sounds better than crows feet).;) and with all things time does heal:) thanks for the encouraging words!!!!
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I had Mohs surgery on the tip of my nose three days ago and my defect looked exactly like yours. I'm experiencing a lot of redness on my entire nose. I was wondering if you had a lot of redness the first few days and if so, when that went away. The flap performed by the plastic surgeon looks almost identical to yours. Thank you for sharing your experience.
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I also meant to sayThank you. The encouraging words mean a lot from someone who has been there. We told our kids about my needing to have surgery and they noticed me looking at your pictures on the computer. They looked at them all and were relieved when they saw how good you turned out and they ask ; " how long did it take to look that good!?" I said 3 weeks. It will be okay then. Enough said, out of the mouths of babes:)
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I think it looks great! From the angle of the picture, it looks pretty smooth and will continue to get better with time. It appears to have good even closure, no gaps or big humps. I've seen a few come back to the O.R. for revision. Most, with some small tweaking made just the right improvement. Most of those really needed the initial healing in order to see how it would come together. I know my eyes are used to looking for the obvious irregularity. So its easy to look so closely at our selves, especially after something like this. I know I will too, and I don't look forward to it. I have seen some really great results with time, so Im with you, stay positive and have faith.
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Thank you for sharing!!! Your healing nicely, very kind of you to share this part. Often we see before but not after. Very bravely you to be informed. I have just been diagnosed with Lentigo melanoma on my cheek. I'm scheduled just one week later for mohs and have a plastic surgeon on standby for 2 days later. I'm in denial, I know. I'm an OR nurse of 20 years, so I know the before but not the healing stages after. I pray for peace and patience for your healing.
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I am sorry to hear of your diagnosis, but glad that you caught it and getting it taken care of. I can definitely understand your "denial" as I was a mess leading up to the surgery, And, with you being a nurse, you have a lot of exposure to different scenarios. I pray that your procedure goes well and the excision is as minimal as it possibly can be. I think you will be surprised and how you are able to cope once it is done. I didn't think I would either, but stay positive and have faith. And, thank you for sending healing wishes my way. I will post another pic on the weekend which will be four (4) weeks from surgery. Seeing progressive photos of others really helped me prepare and understand more.
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Your healing looks great. It really came a long way in only a week. How are you doing now?
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So appreciate your sharing. I have has 7 mosh surges on my face mostly around the nose area n scalp. I am always shocked at the size a tiny pin point ca turn into a joke on the nose. It is always always scary . I am sitting here right now with a hole on the side of my nose trying to figure out I need to have a plastic surgeon do something or let it heal on its own
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I hope your healing is going well and curious which route you chose...plastic surgery or healing on its own. I met a woman who let hers heal on its own and she looks amazing. Kinda second guessing getting the flap because of the surface right now, but will have to give it more time. Prayers for a speedy recovery and hope this finds you well.
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