What To Expect With Your Mohs Surgery Experience

Finding out you have skin cancer can be devastating. Fortunately, medical science has many efficient ways to deal with skin cancers, and one of the best is Mohs surgery. This form of skin surgery uses precise excision of tissue that is immediately tested at intervals during the operation. What this means for patients is preservation of skin for appearance, along with an increased chance that the surgery will remove all of the cancer during a single procedure. Read on to find out more about what to expect with your Mohs surgery.

What to Know About Mohs Surgery

Since you won't have to have general anesthesia for Mohs, it can be performed on an outpatient basis. You may even have it done right in your dermatologist's office – if they have a lab available. For a single surgical site, you can expect to spend several hours at the office having the surgery performed under a local anesthesia. Most of the time will be spent waiting for the results of the incremental testing of excised tissue. Each excision takes only minutes. You might want to bring a book or something else to occupy you while you wait. You will leave the surgery with a bandage and instructions on caring for the wound. Best of all, though, you will leave knowing that all of the cancer has been removed.

Prepare for Your Mohs Surgery

Stocking the below items will help you be more comfortable afterward:

  • Ice pack
  • Wound dressing that won't stick
  • Medical tape
  • Swabs
  • Vaseline
  • Easy-to-prepare meals

Discuss your need to stop taking certain medications before your surgery with your dermatologist. Certain medications, like blood-thinners, may need to be withheld a few days prior to surgery to prevent blood loss. For those with artificial joints or heart valve replacements, antibiotics might be prescribed before the surgery. Since there may restrictions on getting the wound wet, shower before the surgery and expect to wait a few days before doing so again. Lastly, make arrangements for someone to accompany you and drive you home after the Mohs surgery.

After the Surgery

If needed, you can leave the surgery with a prescription for pain relief, but over-the-counter products may be all that is needed. As long as you take it easy and avoid disturbing the stitches, the discomfort should be minimal. Follow post-operative instructions about caring for the wound, and avoid heavy lifting and physical activity for several weeks. You don't want to burst your stitches – that might cause an infection and scarring.

Speak to your dermatologist to find out more about your Mohs surgery.