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Mohs on the Nose (Is it Disfiguring?)

Written by Erin Porter

A note to the squeamish; this post contains photographs of the Mohs surgery on my nose for skin cancer.  I have blurred the most graphic photo.  With summer approaching, I wanted to talk about Mohs surgery on the nose and, more importantly, how to prevent skin cancer and alternatives to cutting the skin cancer out.

girl holding up cell phone with a photo of mohs surgery on her nose

If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer and have been told that you need Mohs surgery on your face or Mohs on your nose, you already know just how scary it can be.  I was surprised to find out that the tiny pinprick mark on my face was cancer on my nose and that I required Mohs surgery on my nose.  I wasn’t mentally prepared for the shock of what I looked like after Mohs on my nose.

girl at doctors office post mohs surgery for cancer on nose

If you are wondering what you can expect from Mohs surgery on your nose (or on your face) you have come to the right place.  Read on and I will share my personal experience with you.  I will answer questions such as whether or not there is pain involved in Mohs surgery, if you will need a plastic surgeon after Mohs and how long it takes to heal.  I will also touch on the the emotional roller coaster during the healing process.

What is Mohs Surgery?

Mohs surgery is a surgical technique used to remove skin cancers.  The surgery is typically done under local anesthesia and is done in stages.  The surgeon will remove a cancerous section of the skin and while the patient waits, that tissue is examined under a microscope.  If any cancer cells are still present, the surgeon returns and removes more tissue before again looking at the tissue under the microscope.  This process continues until all cancer cells have been removed.

Is Mohs Surgery Painful?

During the procedure, since local anesthesia is used, you should not feel any pain.  I did not feel pain at all during the procedure.  Once the local anesthetic wears off, you can expect minimal pain that can be managed with acetaminophen.

The Mohs surgery on my nose was done on good Friday. I was excited about Easter and told the family to pick any restaurant they wanted to eat that Friday night.  After all, it was a tiny spot and I’d probably leave with a little band aid on my nose.  That’s not what the cancer had agreed to, and the cancer called the shots.  In my case, it would take four “passes” until the cancer was removed.  This left the need for reconstruction involving taking skin from my cheek and forehead to cover the damage.   See my television interview below where I share my story of Mohs surgery.

Will My Nose Be Disfigured After Mohs Surgery

Cancer on the nose is often times removed with Mohs surgery.  The depth and width of the cancer on the nose is determined once the doctor has started the procedure.  I decided after the reconstruction that I did not want to look in a mirror, but the surgeon said he would rather me take a look while he was there.  When I looked, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I didn’t recognize myself and although I was relieved, the cancer was out, I also couldn’t believe the new Miss Piggy nose I was left with.  He assured me it was just temporary but in my mind the doctor stitched my nose and pulled it up and I worried this could be permanent, so yes, I cried like a baby right there in front of the doctor.

They bandaged me up (see ridiculous looking bandage below) and I stayed stuck in my head behind that bandage for 2 days until I was allowed to remove it.  I flip-flopped from feeling gratitude, to feeling sad, to feeling guilt that I cared this much about how my nose may look when, after all, I was still alive!  So shame, not wanting to be left out, also joined the party.  Yes, it was fun 48 hours behind that mask.  After the pity party was over, and since I was homebound for at least the next 7 days, I watched all 6 seasons of I love Lucy reruns, which always seems to make everything okay.

Photo of bandages required after Mohs surgery on the nose

Is Mohs Surgery On The Nose Painful?

Most people will feel at least minimal pain.  I felt throbbing face pain for the first 24 hours following surgery.  Mohs surgery on the face can be emotionally traumatizing, so I hope my experience assures you that you will indeed look normal again in time.

This picture below has to be my least favorite.  I looked like I was attacked by an animal.  My entire face is swollen, not just my nose.  I let my husband unwrap my face and I let him look first.  I was embarrassed by what I knew I must look like so I made a joke “Don’t hate me because I am beautiful” and he quickly retorted “that is not why I hate you” and I burst into laughter.  It was the first time I had laughed since having Mohs surgery.

Profile of the aftermath of Mohs surgery on the nose

post Mohs surgery on the face

Close up of aftermath of Mohs surgery on the nose

Below: Watch My Television Interview On Know The Cause Discussing My Skin Cancer & Mohs Surgery

girl Smiling as healing takes place after Mohs surgery

How Long Does it Take to Recover from Mohs on the Nose?

Of course, we all heal differently, but this was my progress at 6 weeks after Mohs surgery on my nose.  The bandage had been off for about one week when this photo was taken.  My nose is not exactly how it was before, and I am sometimes self-conscious of my profile on my left one side, but overall I am very happy and grateful.  I am quite aware it could have been so much worse if it continued to grow undetected.

What Can I Expect After Mohs Surgery on My Nose?

I did form this lump on the left side of my nose that the doctor said may not come down without a steroid shot into the bump.  I was reluctant but glad I did, a few days letter it dissolved by 80%.

BEFORE steroid shot….

aftermath of mohs surgery

Photo below: About 6 days after steroid shot.  I had to get three additional steroid shots in order to keep the lump dissolved.

Photo below – 4 months since Mohs surgery.

Protecting Your Skin from Skin Caner

The sun is not bad for us, it is what is happening on the inside of our body that the sun activates.  Believe it or not the health of your skin begins on the inside.  I have written an article called What Can I Eat as I suffered from systemic candida for years due to toxic mold exposure.  Another thing to consider,  do you wear toxic make up and toxic sunscreen on your face?  I have completely changed my makeup, face wash, and sunscreen routine.   I switched them out for products that are nontoxic and NON carcinogenic.  I like Nature’s Brand. Their sunscreens are non toxic, organic ingredients, NON GMO, and reasonably priced.  You can also wear the tinted face & body lotion as make up.  They are also free of phthalates, parabens, and preservatives.

Nature’s Brand tinted SPF 30 sunscreen  also covers my Mohs surgery scars perfectly.  It contains no nano particles, no petroleum based ingredients, free of oxybenzone, octinoxate, parabens, preservatives and the list goes on!

nature's brand sunscreen

I currently also use Color Science Sunforgettable Brush-on Shield SPF 50.  Wow, it could not be any easier.  I am in Florida so I HAVE to carry sun protection so I use this brush on powder when I’m out playing pickelball or on the beach and need something small, fast, and not greasy.  It’s the only powder sunscreen recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation for Active use.

powder sunscreen brush
Active Ingredients:
Titanium Dioxide 22.5%; Zinc Oxide 22.5%

Update: Photodynamic Therapy 2.5 Years Post Mohs Surgery

You can read the full story of another preventative therapy I use called Photodynamic therapy, also known as PDT therapy.  In my article titled What Is Photodynamic Therapy, I discuss photodynamic therapy for skin cancer, what is PDT exactly and how it can help prevent skin cancer.  I also share my photodynamic therapy recovery pictures.

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Disclosure – this page may contain affiliate links.  I only share products I personally use myself.

Erin Porter
Erin Porter
I have been fortunate to be featured on national Television including PBS American Health Journal, Know the Cause, CTN, ABC, NBC, CBS and more. I was sick for decades, endured many surgeries, took over 100 courses of antibiotics, and then I changed everything and everything changed.

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About Erin

I have been fortunate to be featured on national Television including PBS American Health Journal, Know the Cause, CTN, ABC, NBC, CBS and more. I was sick for decades, endured many surgeries, took over 100 courses of antibiotics, and then I changed everything and everything changed. My book Eat Pray Get Well is about overcoming a tumultuous childhood, decades of chronic illness, and finding God in the process. Includes exclusive interviews with renowned Cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra, Supermodel Carol Alt, Doug Kaufmann, and many more. Plus 55 gluten free recipes woven throughout. 

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