Post-op Expectations After Squamous Cell Lip Mohs Surgery?

I had mohs surgery 1 week ago and plastic re-constructive surgery followed.It was for my upper lip which was diagnosed as malignant squamous cell carcinoma. What should I expect as far as pain postoperatively? I am having sharp, stabbing pain, worse than before surgery.Is this normal?I had a grandmother who died of brain cancer and a mother who died of lung cancer. A Dr. Edward Parry did the Mohs surgery and a Dr. Bassichis did the plastic surgery. I live in Roswell, NM, they are 500 miles away.

Doctor Answers 4

Mohs surgery on the lip for squamous cell carcinoma and reconstruction

Dr. Ed Parry is a great Mohs surgeon! I'm glad he has taken care of you.  Pain is not abnormal on a lip because of the numerous nerve endings.  There are many different scenarios regarding lip surgery.  The size, depth, location, tightness and type of reconstruction can make a difference.  You should try to contact your plastic surgeon and see if they need to examine you.  A hematoma, or collection of blood underneath the wound, can create pain and this can be remedied.  Nerve pain is different and has certain treatments that may help.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Discomfort after Mohs surgery

The best approach would be for you to discuss your symptoms with your surgeon and have he or she evaluate it to make sure you are healing without any complications.

Steven Hacker, MD
West Palm Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Pain after Mohs surgery

Pain after Mohs surgery is a common complaint. It can depend on a number of factors, including the size of the skin cancer removed, the location of the surgery on the face, and the type of reconstruction performed. As well, everyone has a different threshold for pain. In most cases, the pain subsides within a few days after the surgery. As your surgery was performed over one week ago, I would contact the reconstructive surgeon. There might be a reason why you are still uncomfortable that can easily be addressed.

Adam J. Mamelak, MD
Austin Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

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Hi there.  I hope you're feeling better. 

It's quite normal to experience pain, swelling, and bruising following Mohs surgery and it's reconstruction. 

It's very hard to tell if the pain means something else is going on without examining you.  That being said, if the pain has been getting worse since your first few days after surgery then you should see a local provider (i.e. your primary provider).  Most post-operative pain is worst on the second or third day after surgery and then slowly but steadily improves. 

Pain that is getting worse since surgery can mean (amongst other things):

- an infection - the area is swollen, red, angry looking and you may see some puss coming from it.  This would require you to take antibiotics.

- a hematoma - a collection of blood under the skin, the area is bruised, and swollen.  This would require the drainage of the hematoma with a needle poke.

If you're at all worried, I'd suggest seeing your primary care provider. 

All the best, and I hope you have a speedy recovery.

Michael G. Brandt, MD
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.