Why Do the Lower Legs Take Longer to Recover from Mohs Surgery?

When Mohs surgery is performed to remove cancerous lesions, the surrounding skin is then closed and reconstructed to promote optimal healing. Those who undergo the procedure on their lower legs, however, may notice that their recovery takes longer and is more difficult compared to getting Mohs surgery in another area of the body.

There are many many ways to close a wound after Mohs surgery, including a flap, graft, or direct closure. Our dual board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Adam Mamelak, says the goal is to choose the technique that will provide the best possible healing and cosmetic outcome. He explains that, unfortunately, there are some body areas—like the lower legs—that tend to heal at a slower rate and have a higher risk of complications.

A wound’s ability to heal is affected by a variety of factors. With the lower legs, for example, patients may have poor circulation, arterial plaque buildup, or a condition like diabetes that is causing a longer healing timeline. This can ultimately lead to swelling and possible skin infections. A major component of wound healing is that the area receives enough oxygenated blood. This can be encouraged with methods like the following:

  • Wearing compression stockings or wraps
  • Walking and doing calf exercises with compression stockings
  • Elevating legs when sitting and not walking around

While light activity can be helpful, Dr. Mamelak notes that patients should avoid strenuous activities and standing for prolonged periods of time.

To further promote healing after your Mohs surgery, it can be helpful to eat a nutritious diet, drink plenty of water, and incorporate routine exercise into your schedule. Refraining from smoking and managing any possible health conditions are also powerful ways to improve your body’s ability to heal.

Make sure you closely follow your surgeon’s post-operative wound care instructions to ensure a smooth recovery. The best way to encourage lower leg healing after Mohs surgery is to seek care from a qualified and experienced surgeon who can provide optimal treatment techniques, appropriate medications, and post-operative support. In rare cases when it is necessary, wound clinics dedicated to healing can be consulted for assistance in the recovery process.

To learn more about how to navigate your recovery following Mohs surgery, please contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mamelak.