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Planning Your Visit: Pre & Post Surgery

Preparing for my day of Mohs Surgery

We may ask to see you in consultation prior to your surgery, or we may perform the consultation on the same day as your surgery.  The night before the surgery, get a good night’s rest, eat a light breakfast and come to the office at your scheduled appointment time.

As the surgery can take several hours with some downtime, we recommend that you bring a book, newspaper, laptop computer or something else to help pass the time.  Many patients bring a snack or lunch to eat during the day.

You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for the day of the surgery.  It is a good idea to also bring a sweater with you to make you more comfortable.

We ask that you have someone available to drive you home after the surgery.

Download PDF of Pre-Appointment Questionaire

What about my other medications?

You should continue to take all of your regular medications, unless specifically instructed by our office staff.  If your doctor has prescribed a blood thinner such as Coumadin®, Plavix®, heparin, aspirin, we recommend that you continue taking these medications as prescribed.

What will my day of Mohs surgery be like?

After taking a brief history, we will perform a limited skin exam, and mark the site of your skin cancer with you.  We will then inject a local anesthetic to numb the skin and prevent discomfort for you.  Our surgeon will then remove the affected area with a thin layer of tissue.  We will stop the bleeding and place a large bandage over the area.

We will then take your skin and prepare the tissue for microscopic examination.  This is unfortunately, the most time consuming part of the process, as it can take 1-2 hours for the tissue and slides to be prepared.  We will then examine the slides of your skin under a microscope, in order to determine if there is any skin cancer still remaining.

If there is skin cancer seen on your slides, it means that there is still skin cancer at the edges of the tissue.  We must remove more tissue (“another layer of tissue”), and we will repeat the above process until all of the skin cancer is removed.  Depending on your skin cancer, it may take several stages of this process in order to completely remove the skin cancer.  We cannot predict how many stages of surgery will be necessary to remove your skin cancer.

Once the skin cancer is completely removed, we will then discuss the different options to help the wound heal.  Depending on the size and location of your skin cancer wound, we will discuss all of the different surgical reconstructive options with you and recommend the best option in our opinion.  Typically, this reconstruction is performed the same day as your Mohs surgery, but it may be necessary to perform the reconstruction on a separate day.

Will I be left with a scar?

Unfortunately, all surgeries result in scars.  When we remove your skin cancer, the procedure will result in a scar.  We have great expertise in reconstructing skin cancer wounds in all locations as a result of our specialized training in Mohs surgery.  In some cases, a minor revision to the scar may be necessary in the future to result in the best cosmetic outcome.  We refer few cases out for reconstruction.  We do work with colleagues in plastic, head and neck, and oculoplastic surgery, and we are happy to refer you to them for reconstruction after Mohs surgery if you desire.

What do I do after Mohs Surgery?

After your surgery, we will see you back to observe the wound and to make sure that the incision has healed well.  You may also need to have sutures removed at that time.  In the future, we recommend that you have regular visits with your dermatologist for full skin checks in order to maintain skin health.