Going in for Mohs Surgery on October 8th. Right Nostril. Cancun Trip Planned on November 2nd?

Will I be healed enough to enjoy the trip? Will swimming be OK? A friend had this done and warned me to wait until I got back to have the surgery.

Doctor Answers 4

Travelling after Mohs Surgery

Best option...talk to the doctor who will be doing the surgery. There are a lot of unknown factors here. What type of cancer is it? If a basal cell carcinoma, waiting until after the trip shouldn't be a problem. Basal cell carcinomas tend to be very slow growing and the risk of metastasis is extremely small. If a squamous cell carcinoma or an invasive melanoma, you might not want to wait. Some of these cancers can be a bigger problem and therefore might be better to treat sooner rather than later. Another unknown factor is what type of repair will be done. If a side to side repair or flap, the wound will likely be healed. If allowed to heal by secondary intention, the wound may not be completely healed. I wouldn't recommend swimming unless the skin had healed to the point that it is completely intact. And very important to use sunscreen and sun-protective measures following surgery to keep the area looking best. Again your best option would be to speak with the doctor who will be performing the surgery and repair. Good luck.

Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Going in for Mohs Surgery on October 8th. Right Nostril. Cancun Trip Planned on November 2nd?

This likely will be OK but depends upon what type of reconstruction is required. If a simple local flap is performed than your trip should be OK. Ask your Mohs surgeon after your repair their thoughts on travel. Regardless, you will want to protect your nose from the sun with a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Stephen Weber, MD, FACS
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 129 reviews

Avoid sun and swimming after Mohs surgery

While you will probably be just fine to go on your trip if you have surgery October 8, I would wait to have surgery until after your trip.  One of the reasons is that you don't know what type of repair will be needed after the cancer has been cleared.  It may heal in by itself (called secondary intention healing) which can take a few weeks or more likely will require stitches.  While the sutures are typically only in for a week, if you need a more involved flap (such as an interpolation flap), you may be looking at stitches for up to three weeks.  And, I imagine you don't want to deal with any potential post operative issues all the way in Mexico.  The other reason to wait is that a fresh scar is most prone to color change in the few weeks and months--so if it gets any color in Mexico, the color change can be permanent.  So, while I normally wouldn't recommend postponing a cancer surgery, in this case I would.  I hope it all goes well for you and the recovery is easy.  Best of luck. 

Laurie Jacobson, MD
Seattle Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Recovery after Mohs Surgery

Your recovery period will vary based on the size of your skin cancer and the type of reconstruction need.  In most cases, if a large flap or graft is not needed, the sutures are removed in one week and you can resume normal activities.  After the surgery, the skin is very vulnerable and does not have all of it's protective factors, so it is of paramount importance that you comply with a strict sun protection regimen. This regimen  includes wearing a wide brimmed hat and broad spectrum sunscreen with reapplication at least every 2 hours.  You should discuss your options for reconstruction with your surgeon, but if this is a straight forward case, you should be able to enjoy your vacation (swimming as well) with a few precautions. I hope this helps! 

Michelle Henry, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

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.