Association of Mohs Reconstructive Surgery Timing With Postoperative Complications

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Same-day Mohs reconstructive surgery is not always possible; moreover, a delay can offer benefits such as improved surgical planning and increased blood supply to the cauterized wound bed. However, recent work found that delaying reconstruction by more than 2 days increases the postoperative complication rate.


To review the outcomes of Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) reconstruction with respect to patient- and surgery-specific variables, especially timing of repair.

Design, Setting, and Participants

Retrospective, single-institution cohort study of patients who underwent Mohs reconstructive surgery by 1 of the 2 senior authors from January 2012 to March 2017 for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma. No patients had to be excluded for inadequate follow-up or incomplete medical records.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Postoperative complications including hematoma, infection, dehiscence, and partial or full graft or flap loss.


A total of 633 defects in 591 patients (median [range] age, 65 [21-96] years; 333 [56.3%] female) were identified over the 5-year period. Reconstructions occurred from less than 24 hours to 32 days after MMS, with 229 (36.2%) delayed longer than 48 hours. Patient-specific variables reviewed included comorbidities, age, smoking status, and use of anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications. Surgery-specific variables analyzed included location and size of defect, time interval between MMS and reconstruction, and reconstructive modalities. Single-variable analysis was performed to determine whether each variable was associated with postoperative complications. On multivariable binary logistic regression, smoking status (odds ratio [OR], 2.46; 95% CI, 1.29-4.71; P = .007), defect size (OR exp(B), 1.04; 95% CI, 1.01-1.06; P = .006), full-thickness defects (OR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.08-2.25; P = .02), interpolated flaps with cartilage grafting (OR, 8.09; 95% CI, 2.65-24.73; P < .001), and composite grafts (OR, 6.35; 95% CI, 2.25-17.92; P < .001) were associated with an increased risk of postoperative complications.

Conclusions and Relevance

We found no association between timing of Mohs reconstructive surgery and complications, indicating that a delayed repair did not increase the risk of infection or flap failure. Variables associated with an increased risk of postoperative complications include smoking status, size of the defect, full-thickness defects, interpolated flaps with cartilage grafting, and the use of composite grafts.

Level of Evidence


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