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Online Patient-Reported Reviews of Mohs Micrographic Surgery: Qualitative Analysis of Positive and Negative Experiences

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The majority of patients who reported the location of the lesion treated with MMS identified a high-risk location (45%), a medium-risk location (18%), or an unspecified region of the face (15%), according to the appropriate-use criteria for MMS (Table 3).5 Patients did not specify the site of surgery 17% of the time. Only 5% of reported procedures were performed on low-risk areas.

Basal cell carcinomas were the most commonly reported lesions removed by MMS (38%), though 48% of reviews did not specify the type of tumor being treated (Table 3). A large majority (76%) did not specify the type of closure performed. When specified, secondary intention was used 10% of the time, followed by either a flap (6%) or skin graft (6%). Only 5% of patients reported an estimated size of the primary lesion in our study (data not shown).

The qualitative analysis demonstrated variance in themes for positive and negative characteristics (Table 4). Surgeon characteristics encompassed the 3 most commonly cited themes of positive remarks, including bedside manner (78%), communication skills (74%), and perceived expertise (58%). Specific to MMS, the tissue-sparing nature of the technique was cited by 14% of reviews as a positive theme. The most commonly cited themes of negative remarks were intraoperative and postoperative concerns, including postoperative disfigurement (16%), large scar (9%), healing time (9%), and procedural or postoperative pain (8%). A subtheme analysis of postoperative disfigurement revealed that eyelid or eyebrow distortion was the most common concern (29%), followed by redness and swelling (23%), an open wound (14%), and nostril/nose distortion (14%)(data not shown). Themes not commonly cited as either positive or negative included office environment, cost, and procedure time (data not shown).

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