Why Does My Dermatologist Not Recommend Antibiotic Ointment After Mohs Surgery?
Once you have gone through your Mohs Surgery process for skin cancer, you can be left wondering what to do at this point. After consulting with you doctor regarding your stitches, it’s important to understand the best way to care for your surgical wound to ensure optimal healing.
“The truth is, each surgeon recommend a slightly different approach to wound care in the post-op period,” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, board certified dermatologist and fellowship trained Mohs Micrographic surgeon in Austin, Texas. In general, most advise that the wound is kept covered and cleaned regularly to ensure it does not become infected.
Many would think that best care involves coating the wound with an antibiotic ointment, like Neosporin or Polysporin. But this is not always advocated. “Believe it or not, antibiotic ointments and creams tend to cause more problems than actually help,” says Dr. Mamelak. About 1 in 20 individual people have skin sensitivities and allergies to topical antibiotics. “When you consider that the studies show infections after Mohs surgery occur 1-2% of the time, it is therefore more likely to have allergic reactions to antibiotic ointments than actually get an infection.”
Neosporin is known to be one of the most common agents to cause an allergic contact dermatitis rashes on the skin. These rashes can be itchy and uncomfortable, not to mention further complicate the wound healing process.
When treating an surgical incision site or wound, Dr. Mamelak typically recommends purified petroleum jelly, or Aquaphor healing ointment. Covering the areas with these ointments not only aids in the healing process, but also helps deter bacteria and other agents from getting into the wound. These emollients keep the skin moist, allowing for a prime healing environment that does not dry, crack, or predispose to scarring. These products are also free of fragrance and dyes, which is helpful to those who tend to have skin sensitivities. Therefore, use of a lubricating ointment like Vaseline or Aquaphor can be exponentially helpful in the healing process after surgery.
It is always important to consult with your doctor regarding your specific surgery or wound, as there can be unique circumstances that requite alternative forms of treatment for healing.