To see or not to see: Impact of viewing facial skin cancer defects prior to reconstruction

I.J. Veldhuizen, E.R.H. Lee, N.R. Kurtansky, L.J. van Hensbergen, S.W. Dusza, M.C. Holscher, R.R.W.J. van der Hulst, M.J. Ottenhof, A.L. Pusic, M.M. Hoogbergen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Patient expectations of the scar after Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) are often not realistic, leading to subsequent psychosocial sequelae such as anxiety, depression, and avoidance of social situations. When patient expectations are not met, this may also contribute to a decrease in patient satisfaction after surgery. Therefore, altering expectation levels may change patient satisfaction and psychosocial distress levels after surgery. To assess whether patient satisfaction improves in patients after MMS when patients view the surgical defect prior to reconstruction. Patients undergoing facial MMS between December 2017 and September 2019 were included. Patients received or did not receive a mirror after MMS to view the surgical defect before closing the defect. Patients were asked to complete the Dutch FACE-Q Skin Cancer before, one-week, three-months, and one-year after MMS. A total of 113 patients where included. One-hundred-eight (95.6%), 113 (100%), and 93 (82.3%) questionnaires were completed, one-week, three-months, and one-year follow-up, respectively. Satisfaction with facial appearance and appraisal of scars significantly improved over time for all patients, no such improvement was seen for appearance-related distress. Female patients who looked in the mirror had higher satisfaction with facial appearance than female patients who did not look in the mirror. Also, lower appearance-related distress scores were seen in patients who looked in the mirror prior to a flap reconstruction. Showing the defect in the mirror prior to the reconstruction may result in higher patient satisfaction in female patients and patients before undergoing a flap reconstruction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-853
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Dermatological Research
Issue number10
Early online date30 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • facial neoplasm
  • follow-up study
  • mohs surgery
  • patient reported outcome
  • patient satisfaction
  • Follow-up study
  • Patient reported outcome
  • Facial neoplasm
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Mohs surgery

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