Oral Wound Care after Mohs Surgery
You have just had surgery in your mouth or on your lip. Special care must be used to prevent infection, promote healing, and assist in your comfort.
If the wound is in your mouth
- Rinse your mouth after each meal, snack, or drink. Using tap water swish and spit several times to clean any food debris from your mouth.
- You may use a mouthwash or half-strength hydrogen peroxide, if told to do so.
- Have good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice each day.
If the wound is on your lip
- Rinse your mouth with tap water after each meal, as above.
- Apply a thin layer of Vaseline® or antibiotic ointment (Polysporin®, generic double antibiotic ointment, Neosporin or other as ordered by your doctor) on the wound using a Q-tip®.
- Cover wound with a bandage or Band-Aid® to absorb any drainage. Change the bandage as it becomes wet.
Note: Surgicel® may have been put on your wound to stop bleeding. When it comes in contact with blood it turns black. This is normal. It will slowly come off as the wound is cleaned, but do not force it off.
Caution: Your lips and mouth may be numb for many hours after you go home. Avoid smoking and drinking hot fluids. Be careful with talking and chewing so that you do not injure your mouth.
- Avoid heavy activity for the first 2 days or as instructed.
- No swimming or using hot tubs while your wound is healing.
- Use cold, clean washcloths or an ice pack wrapped in a washcloth on the wound area for 5 to 10 minutes at least once per hour, while awake.
- Keep your head raised as much as possible.
- Avoid bending over lower than your heart, or lifting heavy objects.
- Take Tylenol® (acetaminophen) for any discomfort.
- As your wound is healing, choose softer foods (soups, puddings, mashed potatoes, pasta, meatloaf, Jell-O®, etc) to prevent injury to your mouth or lips.
- Avoid the use of alcohol, aspirin, medicines that contain aspirin, naproxen or ibuprofen while your wound is healing (unless approved or ordered by your doctor). They may increase the risk of bleeding.
- If you notice bright red bleeding from the wound, apply direct pressure over the wound for 10 minutes. If the bleeding does not stop, call us at (608) 263-6226 or go to your local emergency room.
Infection is not common when the wound is well cared for. Please call if you notice:
- Yellow or green drainage from the wound.
- Foul smelling breath.
- Fever greater than 101°F and/or flu-like symptoms.
- Increased pain.
After your wound has healed
Protect your lips by applying a lip balm or lipstick with sunscreen.
If you have questions or concerns once you are home, call the Mohs Surgery Clinic Monday –Friday 8:00a.m.-5:00 p.m. at (608) 263-6226. After hours and weekends, the clinic’s answering service will answer the calls. If you have an urgent concern, ask for the Mohs Surgery doctor on call. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942 during regular clinic hours and ask for Mohs Surgery West.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 05/07/2012
Copyright © 05/07/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4941
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