Dermatology Services

What You Need to Know Before Your Mohs Surgery

Before Surgery

  1. A nurse or medical assistant will contact you at prior to your procedure to review your medical history and provide information regarding the surgery.
  2. You do not need to discontinue prescription medications prior to your appointment. However, please write down all of your current medications (including creams, inhalers, eye drops, and over the counter supplements) and bring this list to your appointment.
  3. It is ideal, but not always necessary, to arrange for a driver or companion on the day of surgery.

On the Day of Surgery

  1. Please take a shower or bath prior to your surgery as you may have restrictions from showering or bathing following the procedure. Please do not wear makeup or lotion.
  2. Eat breakfast and take all medications unless otherwise instructed.
  3. The duration of the surgery cannot be predicted, and most of your visit will be spent waiting, so please bring something to occupy your time. Books, books on tape, personal CD or tape players with headphones, handwork and laptops are all acceptable.
  4. If you plan on bringing a cell phone, please be courteous and turn it off while in the waiting room and while the doctor is in the room with you. Calls may be placed while waiting for tissue to be processed.
  5. Bring a snack and drink with you. Plan on being here for at least half of the day or more.

After Surgery

  1. Please be aware you will likely have a large dressing on the surgery site. You will be given instructions to care for the wound and change the dressing.
  2. You may want to consider taking the day off from work following surgery. Depending on the extent of the surgery, you might not feel up to working. If you do choose to work, you will need to keep the dressing in place while at work.
  3. Please limit exercise and physical activity for at least 48 hours following surgery. Avoid bending, lifting, or stooping, as well as activities that increase your heart rate or blood pressure.
  4. You might be prescribed a pain medication following your surgery. Please be aware you should not drive or go to work while on this medication.
  5. Your Mohs surgeon will most likely schedule a follow up appointment one or two weeks after surgery. At the time of this appointment, you will be given additional instructions to help with your surgical site.
  6. Any surgery to remove skin cancer results in a scar. However, the precision of the Mohs technique helps to minimize the extent of the visible scar. Additional procedures such as lasers, may be suggested at the discretion of your surgeon to improve the appearance of the scar.
  7. There may be swelling and bruising around the wound, especially near the eye. The area may remain numb up to several months after the surgery. You may also experience episodic sensations of tingling, “shooting or sharp” discomfort with the surgery site as it heals.

Watch the "Wound Care" video by Dr. Glen Bowen

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