What to Expect

Preparation

 

Once it has been determined that the skin cancer will be removed by the Mohs surgery technique, the Mohs surgery patient should expect a few things before their treatment begins.

  • If you are new to our office, a new patient Mohs information packet will be mailed to you that also includes directions and paperwork for you to fill out. Please have this filled out prior to your arrival the morning of your surgery.
  • We will call two weeks prior to your appointment to remind you of your appointment and to go over medications you are taking and any allergies you may have to medications.

As Mohs surgery is performed under local anesthetic, some medications can cause some adverse affects. Prescription medications like blood-thinners (i.e. Coumadin/Warfarin, Plavix, Pletal, Ticlid) and over the counter medications and supplements (i.e., Aspirin and Vitamin E) can affect the excision and healing of the wound during your Mohs surgery. 

For two weeks before your Mohs surgery, avoid:

  • Ginseng
  • Gingko Biloba
  • Feverfew
  • Garlic or Ginger capsules
  • Vitamin E
  • Aspirin (or anything with aspirin in it)

For two days before your Mohs surgery, avoid:

  • Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
  • Arthritis drugs
  • Ephedra

Speak with your Mohs surgeon about any and all medications, drugs and supplements you’re taking. Depending on your particular case, we may have you call your prescribing physician to see if you can stop blood thinners prior to surgery.

  • Try to get a good night’s sleep prior to surgery.

On the morning of your surgery, take your physician prescribed medications (excluding any blood thinner we might have had you stop a few days earlier) and have a good breakfast. Don’t forget to bring a snack, a book or a project to work on during the expected down time.

Most Mohs surgery procedures take only a single day, as the Mohs surgeon will typically remove 1 – 3 layers of tissue. At minimum, expect your appointment to be 3 hours. If the Mohs surgeon needs to take 4 sections or more , expect a 6 – 7 hour procedure. It’s rare, but possible, that the entire skin cancer will not be removed in one session. With the severity and spread of your particular type of skin cancer, you may be asked to return on another day for repeat tissue removal sessions. Because it is impossible to predict how many stages will be necessary to remove all of the cancer cells, plan to take off the entire day.

Please prepare for your post surgical wound care prior to your appointment by making sure you have wound care supplies on hand at home such as antibiotic ointment and bandaging supplies.

Expect to come back to see us usually within two to three weeks for follow-up.

Expect to see a dermatologist regularly following surgery for skin cancer surveillance.

Expect to have a positive experience at Dermatologic Surgery of Central Virginia.

Mohs Resources

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