Day of Surgery

My biopsy site healed well and I don’t think that I need Mohs surgery, can I cancel my surgery appointment?

No. While the biopsy wound may have healed well, there could still be cancerous cells lurking under the surface of your skin, not visible to the naked eye. Canceling your surgery will result in delay of care and possibly a larger, more difficult surgical procedure in the future.

Should I bring someone with me to my surgery appointment?

We do recommend bringing one person with you to your appointment. Due to the size of the waiting room and number of patients seen daily, we only allow one companion to stay with you for the day. Sometimes patients need a mild sedative to calm their nerves or a large bandage may reduce visibility, which requires a companion to drive the patient home after the procedure. It is also nice to have a companion in the waiting room, as there is a lot of time spent waiting in between layers. Your companion is also allowed to leave and bring food to you, as you are not allowed to leave the office until your skin cancer is clear and reconstruction is completed. Only the patient is allowed to come back to the exam room; your companion will be asked to wait in the waiting room.

May I wear makeup to my surgery appointment?

If your skin cancer is located on or near your face, please do not wear makeup. If you do wear makeup on or near your skin cancer, we will clean it off to ensure a clean surgical site and proper bandaging.

How long will I be in the office on the day of my surgery?

We ask that you block off the whole day for your surgery, as we do not know the extent of your skin cancer or what reconstruction will be needed. We are not responsible if you book an overlapping commitment, as we cannot rush the procedure. The process of bringing you into an exam room and removing the first layer of your tumor typically takes 10-15 minutes total. You will then be asked to wait in the waiting room while your tissue is processed in the lab, which typically takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If an additional layer is required to completely remove your skin cancer, it will take an additional 1 1/2 to 2 hours to process in the lab. Most skin cancers take 2-3 layers to be completely removed. Most of your day will be spent in the waiting room, so we recommend bringing reading materials and headphones, if you’d like to use your phone or tablet.

May I use my cellphone in the office?

Cellphone usage is not allowed while you are in the exam room with providers and staff. While using your cellphone is allowed in the waiting room, we ask that you are mindful of those around you. If you need to make a call, please step outside. If you’d like to watch a video on your device or if you’d like to listen to your own music, please bring headphones to wear. The waiting room should be a peaceful and calm place for everyone.

After Surgery

How do I shower or wash my hair if my stitches cannot get wet?

Depending on the location of your stitches, it is possible to use waterproof bandages to cover your brown tape. If the location of your stitches does not allow for this, we recommend asking someone for help to wash your hair, either at home or at a hair salon. There are also rinse-free shampoos available for purchase on Amazon.

I have stitches on my ear and am not comfortable when I try to sleep; what can I do?

Try using an ear pillow to relieve pressure around your ear.

How soon can I apply makeup to my surgical site?
Wait at least 2-3 weeks before applying makeup to your surgical site. Your surgical site should be completely sealed with new skin in order to prevent infection.
My brown bandage fell off before my one-week post-operative follow up. What should I do?

Keep your surgical site dry and covered with a bandaid (or non-stick gauze and paper tape) until your scheduled visit.

What should I use to clean/cover my surgical site?

Once you have been given the go-ahead to start getting your surgical site wet again, only use soap and water when showering or bathing. DO NOT USE ALCOHOL OR HYDROGEN PEROXIDE to clean your wound, as alcohol and hydrogen peroxide will dry your wound base and slow down your healing process.

Use an ointment like Vaseline, Bacitracin, or Aquaphor to cover your surgical site before bandaging. DO NOT USE NEOSPORIN, as prolonged usage of Neosporin can cause an allergic reaction on your skin, thus delaying your healing and causing discomfort.