When your life suddenly gets turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis, uncovering the best treatments and healing options becomes your single most important priority. This is especially true for skin cancer, which affects more Americans every year than all other cancers combined.
In fact, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. If you’re one of them, will you know what to do?
Mohs surgery may be the answer. This procedure removes cancerous cells from the skin without any chemotherapy or radiation. However, in the process of saving you from cancer, Mohs surgery may cause scarring and inflammation on your skin.
The good news is that there is a safe treatment called hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) that can accelerate and improve your wound healing after Mohs surgery. When it comes to skin cancer surgery wound care, HBOT offers powerful restorative properties known to significantly reduce inflammation, super-charge your own body’s healing mechanisms and improve your post-operative outcomes.
When to Start Your Wound Care After Mohs Surgery
It’s your skin’s natural instinct to trigger healing action as soon as a wound develops, but Mohs surgery often creates wounds too deep or widespread for your body to repair alone. For maximum healing results, wound care should begin as soon after surgery as possible.
How Does Mohs Surgery Work?
Mohs surgery treats common skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and even some kinds of melanoma. Unlike chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other intense cancer treatments, Mohs surgery is an extremely precise technique used to gradually remove thin layers of cancerous skin cells.
Each layer of cancer is removed, one by one, until only cancer-free tissue remains. The Mohs technique makes it possible to preserve healthy skin, especially in highly visible or sensitive areas such as the eyes, ears, nose, face and neck. It also offers the added benefit of being an outpatient procedure.
Beginning Mohs Surgery Wound Care
Immediately after your Mohs surgery procedure, your surgeon will dress all wounds with pressurized bandages to promote clotting and reduce blood loss. It’s important to follow all bandaging instructions to prevent infection, which means no bathing or lifting heavy objects for one to two days.
Depending on the size and depth of your surgical wound, it may take as long as six months for redness and inflammation to fade. Sun exposure and improper wound dressing can even cause thick scars to develop.
Rather than waiting for months and merely hoping that your Mohs wounds will diminish, you can seek out a qualified wound care specialist after skin cancer surgery. The sooner the better! Proper wound care and supplemental healing treatments are critical to any successful Mohs surgery recovery.
Post-Mohs Surgery Wound Care Options
If you’re eager to rejuvenate the health and appearance of your skin after Mohs surgery, you have three common wound care options.
Infection prevention is a core element of any post-surgical treatment plan. As long as you keep your wound clean and covered with the right dressings, you’ll automatically lower your risk of infection and pave the way for smoother wound recovery. Make sure you watch for symptoms like increased drainage, purulent drainage, fever and intensifying pain, all of which could indicate wound infection.
Many doctors offer steroid injections or topical steroids to decrease inflammation and minimize scarring, especially in highly visible areas like the face.
Topical steroids work by attaching to tissue at the molecular level and creating tension that prompts the body to repair the broken blood vessels that cause scars to appear red and swollen. Steroid injections, on the other hand, break bonds between collagen fibers to reduce the amount of scar tissue sitting beneath the skin.
Both steroid treatments may deliver results, but they cause unwanted side effects like thinning, sunken, and discolored skin at the site of application.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) offers Mohs surgery wound-healing abilities that surpass all other alternatives. Though it began as a medical procedure to treat caisson workers and later deep-sea divers for decompression sickness, HBOT has evolved into a treatment capable of helping injuries heal by delivering pressurized oxygen directly into the patient’s bloodstream. This safe and effective therapy enriches the body with pure oxygen to stimulate comprehensive healing and regeneration.
How Can HBOT Speed Up Mohs Surgery Wound Healing?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy saturates the body with 100 percent pure, pressurized oxygen. Even though oxygen is colorless, odorless, and gaseous, it has the incredible power to help heal chronic wounds when administered in a hyperbaric chamber.
As pure oxygen floods the body and affected skin tissues, it decreases inflammation, supports the development of new blood vessels (which in turn improves circulation essential for healing), and helps antibiotics eliminate dangerous bacteria. Together, these changes simultaneously trigger wound healing in multiple ways, as they:
- Enhance the ability of white blood cells to fight infection
- Increase blood flow to damaged areas of the body
- Promote development of new capillaries
- Build new connective tissues
- Optimize ability for blood to nourish wounds with antibodies and oxygen
- Supercharge the body’s innate healing response.
HBOT treatments are relaxing and even enjoyable! You simply recline on a comfortable bed inside a spacious, clear hyperbaric chamber and take a nap, listen to music or watch television as you inhale 100 percent pure oxygen.
Enriching your body with HBOT through multiple treatments (generally starting with 10 to 20 treatments) over the course of four to eight weeks can dramatically accelerate your wound-healing process and potentially decrease scar formation. At the conclusion of your HBOT protocol, you’ll be able to embrace healthy, healed skin at your Mohs surgery site.
Start Your HBOT Treatments Today
It’s important to schedule your post Mohs surgery wound care with a wound healing specialist you can trust. The compassionate team at R3 Wound Care and Hyperbarics have served communities throughout Texas since 2014, with 4 wound care clinic locations. Our wound care specialists offer advanced treatments like HBOT that are proven to reduce wounds and improve wellness.
Our state-of-the-art, clear, acrylic hyperbaric chambers are comfortable yet powerful, allowing you to experience deep healing without any pain. Call us today or fill out the simple contact form to schedule your first appointment and learn more about the potential of HBOT to accelerate your Mohs surgery wound healing.
Allison Remy started her career in medicine as a Licensed Paramedic and later became a certified Physician Assistant (PA-C). She received her Master’s of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from The University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2007 and has practiced in a variety of fields. She is passionate about wound care and hyperbaric medicine and takes great joy in helping patients heal their wounds in order to restore normalcy to their lives.