What Happens the Day of Surgery
|Your appointment will be scheduled early in the day. Our staff will escort you into the surgical suite where the surgeon will numb the area around the skin cancer. Once it is numb the visible cancer and a thin layer of tissue will be removed. This tissue is carefully mapped and coded by the surgeon and taken to the adjacent laboratory where the technician will immediately process the microscope slides. You will have a temporary dressing placed over the wound and you will be free to return to the reception area.
The surgical procedure alone takes 10-15 minutes. However, it takes a minimum of 1 ½ to 2 hours to prepare and microscopically examine the tissues of each layer. Several surgical stages and microscopic examinations may be required, and you will be asked to wait in the patient reception area between stages.
Although there is no way to tell before surgery how many stages will be necessary, most cancers are removed in 3 stages or less.
We would like to make the time you spend with us as pleasant and comfortable as possible. You may want to bring reading material to occupy your time while waiting for the microscope slides to be processed and examined. You may want to bring a sweater, as the temperature in our office varies. Magazines and beverages will be available in the reception area. If your visit extends through the lunch hour, your companion may leave the office and bring you a snack or lunch from one of the local restaurants of eateries since you are asked not to leave the reception area of our office.
The most difficult part of the procedure is waiting for the results from the laboratory. Since we do not know in advance how much time is necessary to remove the cancer and repair the wound, we ask that you plan to be in the office the entire day and that you make no other commitments.
What complications may occur?
Complications after Mohs surgery are rare, but may include a chance of bleeding or infection. For any complications or questions following surgery, please review the written instructions sheet we will provide to you on the day of surgery.
Will I be hospitalized?
No, Mohs Surgery in performed in a pleasant out-patient surgical suite and you may return home the same day. Hospital facilities are available if necessary.
Will the surgery leave a scar?
Yes. Any form of treatment will leave a scar. However, because Mohs Surgery removed as little normal tissue as possible, scarring is minimized. Immediately after the cancer is removed, we may choose (1) to leave the wound to heal itself, (2) to repair the wound with stitches, or (3) to reconstruct the wound with a skin graft or flap. This decision is based on the safest method that will provide the best cosmetic result.
Will I have pain after the surgery?
Most patients do not complain of pain. If there is any discomfort, Tylenol is all that is usually necessary for relief.