Before and After Mohs Surgery
Mohs surgery is a surgical treatment for certain forms of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, some forms of melanoma, and other rare types. Also known as Mohs micrographic surgery, it boasts a 94 to 99% cure rate, making it the treatment of choice for many of our patients at Dermatology Associates.
During the procedure, a surgeon removes skin cancer layer by layer, intermittently analyzing each layer beneath a microscope. By mapping out exactly where the cancer is in each layer, we can spare as much healthy skin as possible, removing layers only where cancer exists. As you prepare to receive Mohs surgery, knowing what to expect before and after the procedure can help you make a successful recovery.
Prepping for Mohs Surgery
If you’re set to receive Mohs surgery, you should first talk with your doctor about any medications that you’re taking, as well as medical conditions that you’ve had. For example, if you have an artificial joint, you may need to be placed on preoperative antibiotics to keep you safe. Or, if you have cardiovascular disease and take blood thinners, we may recommend that you continue taking them despite their potential side effects.
If you do not have any preexisting medical conditions, the Dermatology Associates team recommends that you avoid taking aspirin, ibuprofen, and other non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications at least one week before your Mohs surgery. Similarly, we instruct all patients to avoid alcohol, vitamin E, and smoking for at least one to two weeks before and after their surgery.
Finally, be sure to plan out the logistics of your surgery date well in advance. While Mohs surgery can sometimes take only four hours to complete, it can also take up to eight hours or longer. As a result, we ask that you clear your entire day’s schedule. And although you will only be placed under localized anesthesia, you may also want to arrange a ride to and from the hospital. Lastly, if your Mohs surgery is being performed on your face, be sure your skin is free of makeup when you arrive.
Mohs Surgery Aftercare
In nearly all cases, we perform wound repair immediately after your Mohs surgery is completed. Our team will instruct you about how to care for the surgery site, minimize your risk for infection, and combat potential pain. Normally, patients will experience bruising and swelling, but they can expect these symptoms to subside quickly.
Oftentimes, we will remove a patient’s stitches after one to two weeks have passed since the date of the procedure. To alleviate your discomfort, you can turn to cold compresses, over-the-counter medications, and rest.
Over the next several months, we will also require you to make regular appointments with us so we can effectively observe your condition and progress. During these routine appointments, our team will monitor your healing and check for any signs of recurring skin cancer.
Trust Dermatology Associates
As arguably the most successful form of skin cancer treatment, dermatologists around the world have been turning to Mohs therapy more now than ever before. To help you prepare for your surgery and heal thoroughly, the team at Dermatology Associates will provide guidance and support every step of the way. For more information or to make an appointment, contact us today.