An analysis of pain and analgesia after Mohs micrographic surgery

Bahar F. Firoz, Leonard H. Goldberg, Ofer Arnon, Adam J. Mamelak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Background: Pain characteristics and analgesia in patients undergoing Mohs micrographic surgery have not been systematically studied. It is important to know about pain after Mohs micrographic surgery to better serve patient needs. Objective: We sought to measure pain in patients after Mohs micrographic surgery, and to investigate the relationship among postoperative pain, surgical characteristics, patient characteristics, and analgesics used. Methods: The Wong-Baker 0-to-10 pain scale was prospectively administered postoperatively to all patients presenting for Mohs micrographic surgery in a private practice setting between October 1, 2007, and December 31, 2008. Patients recorded their pain level from the day of surgery through postoperative day 4. The age, sex, location of surgery, number of lesions operated on, postoperative size, type of repair, severity of pain, and oral analgesics consumed and dosages used were recorded. Results: A total of 433 patients were included in the final analysis. The highest pain scores were found on the day of surgery and steadily declined until postoperative day 4 (P < .000). In all, 52% of patients took pain medication on the day of surgery, which declined successively with each postoperative day. The highest mean pain scores were statistically significantly associated with repair type (flaps), age (<66 years), number of lesions, and consumption of narcotics for pain relief. No statistically significant differences existed for sex or postoperative defect size. Limitations: The instrument used to measure pain relied on patient self-report in a private practice surgery center. Only the validated Wong-Baker pain scale was used to assess pain in this study. Conclusion: Approximately half of the patients after Mohs micrographic surgery take medication for pain control. Type of closure, location of surgery, age, and type of pain medication taken were significantly associated with postoperative pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Mohs micrographic surgery
  • Wong-Baker pain scale
  • analgesia
  • pain
  • postoperative pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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