Skin Cancer & Mohs Surgery
Unless instructed otherwise, eat your regular breakfast and take all of your regular medications on the day of surgery. You will check in with a nurse who will confirm that you have followed any pre-operative instructions specified during consultation.
When you are ready, the doctors will clean the surgical field with an antiseptic and the area surrounding the skin cancer will be anesthetized (numbed) by a small local injection, usually similar to the one you received for your biopsy. You will not be placed under anesthesia. There is a needle stick only. Once the surgical area is numb, the skin cancer will be removed and sent to the lab for microscopic examination.
The process of creating and reviewing the cancer may take 30-45 minutes. We recommend you have a book, cellphone, or friend to keep you company during this time. Based on the results of the microscopic exams, if there is any cancer left, the surgical field will again be cleaned, numbed, and additional tissue may be removed. This process of removing tissue is repeated until the entire tumor has been eradicated as determined by microscopic examination.
The number of rounds required to entirely remove the tumor varies from patient to patient. Most of the time, skin cancers are fully removed in two or three rounds. Similarly, the exact size of your wound will not be known until all microscopic exams are finished. As soon as these tests are complete, your wound is repaired. Different techniques for repairing a surgical wound are available and will be discussed with you in full detail at the time of surgery.
Preoperative Instructions & Checklist
- No alcohol five days prior to surgery
- Eat a light breakfast before surgery
- Eat a light lunch before surgery
- Please limit your party to two friends or family members. Our waiting room cannot accommodate excess visitors. Family members will wait for you during the surgery in our waiting room.
- Plan to be at our office for 3-4 hours. You will not be in surgery for this entire duration, but consultation and analysis times may vary.
- Cancel all activities for the day of surgery and possibly longer. You will receive postoperative instructions before you leave our office.
- Prepare to spend the night before your surgery if you are coming from out of town as well as the night of surgery in case the surgery becomes more extensive.
- You may bring a sweater to be worn in the waiting rooms because the temperature in our office is very cool, although it will not be allowed in the operating room.
- Do not apply makeup on the day of your surgery.
- You will be required to remove your shirt, so you may prefer not to wear one-piece garments (e.g. jumpsuit). A gown furnished by the office will be worn to surgery.
- Report any changes in your health including fever to your doctor's office.
- Check your medications and bring a list of all medications you are taking. If you are unsure of your medication, please call our nursing staff at 706-543-5858.
Download this preoperative checklist