Should I Remove my Bandage and Let my Stitches Air out 4 Days After Mohs Surgery?

Just had Mohs surgery on my forehead 4 days ago. Can I take the bandage off for good and let the stitches air out now? Going to have them removed three days from now.

Doctor Answers 6

Letting the Wound Air Out after Surgery

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Generally, it's an old wive's tale that you let the air get to a wound and it heals better. As a general rule, if you keep the wound clean, moist and covered, it will heal quicker and better. Your surgeon should have given you instructions as to how to care for the wound. I would follow them and if there is any reason to believe that the wound is not healing well or could be infected, contact your doctor.

Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

We love vaseline for wounds

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We typically recommend keeping wounds smothered in vaseline.  My wife jokes that I talk about vaseline as much as they talked about Windex in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  But the truth is
  • about 10% of the population develops allergies to neomycin or bacitracin, the key ingredients in neosporin.  If you are allergic to either of these and use them, the wound gets red, angry looking, and often appears infected.  How ironic is that?
  • If the wound is NOT already infected, there is solid evidence that topical antibiotics don't prevent infection any more than vaseline does
  • Really, really good data shows that for most wounds, keeping them moist shortens wound healing times by about 50%
Also, we find that if you've kept vaseline on the stitches, they are usually much easier to remove.  Finally, my opinion of aquaphor is that its pretty much expensive vaseline.  To me, it feels about the same and I've never felt its worth paying 10X the price for. 

Arlo J. Miller, MD, PhD
Issaquah Dermatologic Surgeon

Removing bandages after surgery

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Generally, it is best to follow your surgeon's instructions for post care, as he or she will know what they did and what they are intending to happen. For most of my patients including Mohs patients, I have them keep the area covered as I left it, for about 2 days. After that I have them remove the bandage and clean the site with 1/2 peroxide and 1/2 water and apply Polysporin. To help wounds heal you want to keep them clean (free from scabs and dried blood) and moist (with Polysporin or Vaseline). Then I have them put a clean bandage back on. Mostly because I don't want the sutures to rub and frankly, because other people don't like to see sutures on people's faces. But really, follow your surgeon's post care instructions, or call and ask them.

Removal of skin cancer in Los Angeles

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It is very important to follow your surgeon's instructions after skin cancer surgery. I perform many of these and have a wound care protocol that may differ from others.  The status of your scar will depend on how well you care for the incision. Raffy Karamanoukian, Los Angeles

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Why don't you wait a little?

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Why don't you just make an appointment with your doctor early and they can decide, take the bandage off, if possible , and then you are not left guessing if it was the right thing to do?
All the best

Barbara Jemec, MD, FRCS(Plast)
London Plastic Surgeon

Wound care

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Each situation is unique and only your surgeon knows the specific details of your procedure and should be the person commenting on post-operative questions such as this.  In our practice we do remove the dressing after 1 day

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 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.