For Mohs Surgery Patients
How to Prepare for Surgery
- Take your physician-prescribed medications unless otherwise advised. If you are on blood thinners, our doctors can discuss with you the risks and benefits of continuing these medications.
- Unless required by your physician, discontinue over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements 10 days prior to surgery as some may increase the risk of bleeding. These medications include: aspirin that you are taking for prevention only, Aleve (naproxen), Motrin or Advil (ibuprofen), vitamin E, fish oil including Omega-3, glucosamine-chondroitin, garlic, and flax seed among others.
- Discontinue any alcohol consumption 2 days before and after surgery.
- Consider avoiding smoking 4 weeks before and after surgery.
- Mohs Surgery can be a full day-long procedure. Please be prepared to spend most of the day waiting for slide results. You may wish to consider the following:
- Bring a snack and something to read or entertain yourself
- Wear comfortable clothing
- Carry a jacket or sweater
- We recommend that you eat breakfast the day of your surgery if you will be having your wound repaired in our office.
- Note that if your wound repair following Mohs surgery is scheduled with an outside surgical specialist (i.e. a plastic surgeon), they will likely advise you not to eat prior to the procedure.
- In most cases, patients may drive themselves to and from our office. If your surgery is around the eye or nose, we suggest that you arrange transportation as swelling or bandaging of the wound may obstruct your vision.
- Keep in mind that there will be a bulky pressure bandage in place for at least 48 hours after your surgery that should not get wet.
- For the first 48 hours after surgery, your activity will be limited. Restrictions include bending, stooping and heavy lifting. In general, strenuous exercise (golf, tennis, running, weight lifting) is further limited for 2 weeks.
After the Surgery
- If a repair is required, the doctor will recommend the best option for the wound based upon its size and location.
- Healing and wound care will be explained in detail following Mohs surgery. In general, wounds tend to heal better when covered with ointment and a bandage. We usually recommend that plain Vaseline be applied 1-2 times per day.
- It is common to experience moderate swelling and bruising as well as mild discomfort for several days following procedure. Over-the-counter Tylenol (acetaminophen) taken every 4-6 hours is often enough to relieve the pain. If you are still having pain despite Tylenol and cold compresses, please contact our office so we can evaluate your symptoms.
- It is also common to feel fatigue for 1-2 days following Mohs surgery and most people elect to rest and not work during this time.
- Look for signs of infection including increasing tenderness, warmth, redness expanding beyond the wound edge and pus at the wound site. If you notice these or other signs, please contact our office immediately.
- Follow up for a suture visit 7-10 days post-op or a wound check at a later date may be recommended.
- We encourage you to make an appointment to see your referring dermatologist for a complete skin check 3-6 months after completion of the Mohs surgery procedure. Regular skin surveillance is critical for early detection and prevention of skin cancer.