Preparing for Surgery
Please eat a healthy breakfast the day of your surgery. If your appointment should fall close to lunchtime, you may want to consider bringing a snack or lunch with you, especially if you have diabetes, low blood sugar, or have other dietary concerns.
Wear comfortable clothing. Wear comfortable clothing and dress warmly, but in layers, so you can easily adapt to the room's temperature. Also, due to limited space, we ask that you bring only one person with you to your appointment.
Clear your schedule for the day. It's not possible to predict how long Mohs surgery will take. The length of time you can expect to stay will depend on the number of stages required. Most patients will need to have one or two stages of surgery. We advise you to plan to stay all day, although it rarely takes that length of time. For most people, the procedure takes less than four hours, about half the day.
Stop taking certain medications. In general, take all of your medications as prescribed the day of your surgery. However, let us know of any medications or supplements you are taking, including any blood thinning medications. They may affect your chances of bleeding after surgery. A complete list of medications and supplements to avoid prior to your surgery day are listed on the Preoperative Instructions Form in the Patient Information Section.
What to Expect
To prepare you for surgery, the area to be operated on is cleaned and outlined with a special pen. The area is numbed with a local anesthetic. The anesthetic numbs the skin, so you won't feel anything sharp or painful during the procedure. Once it has taken effect, a scalpel is used to remove the visible portion of the cancer along with a thin, underlying layer of tissue that's slightly larger than the visible tumor. A temporary bandage is placed on your incision. This takes only a few minutes.
The tissue is then taken to the lab for analysis, cut into sections, and examined with a microscope. This portion of the procedure typically takes the longest amount of time. Expect to wait an hour or so in the procedure room or waiting room. It may help to have a magazine or book to pass the time. You'll be able use the restroom or have a snack if you need to, but you won't be able to leave the office until the procedure is complete.
This process (referred to as a stage of Mohs surgery) will be repeated until the tissue comes back from analysis cancer-free.
We look forward to caring for you during your Mohs Micrographic Surgery and assisting in the treatment of your skin cancer.