The Preoperative Visit

Before scheduling surgery, you may have a preoperative visit. This visit gives you the opportunity to meet your doctor and the medical staff, and learn more about Mohs Micrographic Surgery.

Your Doctor will examine your skin cancer, obtain your medical history, and determine the most appropriate way to treat your skin cancer.

During the preoperative visit, your doctor will discuss reconstructive options that may be appropriate for you. Often, the best reconstructive method can only be determined at the actual time of your surgery. It can be difficult to fully determine the tumor size and extent of damage until it has been analyzed under the microscope on the day of the surgery.

Preparation for Surgery

We want you to be as comfortable, relaxed, and informed as possible. Therefore, we recommend you do the following:

  • Read the handouts you have been given
  • Ask any questions you may have
  • Take your usual medications unless directed otherwise
  • Take any new medications prescribed for you
  • Do not drink any alcoholic beverages 24 hours prior to surgery
  • Continue to refrain from alcoholic beverages for 48 hours following the procedure
  • Shampoo your hair the night before surgery. Your wound and initial dressing have to remain dry for at least 24 hours after surgery
  • Be well rested by getting a good night's sleep
  • Eat a good breakfast
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing and avoid any "pullover" clothing
  • Plan on spending 2 to 3 hours in our office for the procedure. However, the actual duration varies depending on the size and location of the skin cancer and the type of reconstruction
  • Consider bringing someone to drive you home
  • Because we have limited space in our waiting room, please bring only one person
If you must cancel your surgery, please notify us at least one week in advance, so we can accommodate other patients that are waiting to be scheduled.

The Day of Surgery

Mohs Micrographic Surgery uses a team approach. The Mohs micrographic surgeon is assisted by a team of technicians, other physicians, nurses, and medical assistants who will be involved directly with your care.

For medical record and educational purposes, we may photograph the skin cancer and surrounding tissue before, during, and immediately after the surgery, and again after healing.

Before surgery, your doctor will discuss the procedure again with you. If you have any additional questions, please ask your doctor at this time.

In preparation for surgery, we will cleanse the area surrounding your skin cancer and place several sterile drapes over you. A sticky pad is placed on your arm or leg which grounds the electrosurgical machine used to stop bleeding. We will numb the area containing the skin cancer with a small local injection. It usually takes 30 minutes. Once the area is numb the tissue is removed.

After removing the tissue, we will process it in our laboratory next to the operating room. You may remain in the surgical room or the waiting room while the doctor processes and examines the tissue under a microscope. Depending upon the amount of tissue removed, processing usually takes an additional 30-45 minutes.

If the microscopic examination reveals the presence of additional tumor, we will go back and remove more tissue. Most skin cancers are removed in two or three surgical stages.


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