Pre-Surgery Checklist

What should I expect from this procedure?

  • The surgeon will remove the skin cancer with a small margin and submit the tissue for pathologic evaluation. Slides will be prepared, and the Mohs surgeon will evaluate all of the margins. The wound will be closed (or left open to heal) if the margins are clear---or--- more tissue will be taken if the margins are not clear. If the margins are not clear, the process will continue until the margins are clear. When the margins are confirmed clear, the wound will be closed or left to heal on its own. In rare cases, the tumor will be much larger than the visible tumor, and the wound may require closure by a plastic surgeon.
  • For all surgical days, we do not require, but recommend, that you bring a companion who can drive you home from the surgery. Why?
    • You may have post-surgical discomfort from swelling.
    • You may be on medication which may impair your ability to drive.
    • You may have your vision obscured if surgical procedures were performed on your face.

What should I do on the morning of my surgery?

  • Take a full-body shower with soap on the morning of surgery and wear freshly laundered clothes to help reduce the chance of infection. If applicable, please refrain from using makeup or lotions.
  • If the surgical procedure will be above your waist, wear a shirt or blouse that buttons up the front.
  • Have a regular breakfast.
  • If you normally wear contacts, it would be better to wear glasses on the day of surgery due to potential swelling around the eyes. Please note, however, that depending on the location of your surgery, the bandage might prevent you from wearing glasses. To minimize inconvenience, it is recommended that all patients (even those without glasses or contacts) arrange for a ride home.
  • Do not wear jewelry in areas of your body that are near the surgical site.
  • If you require pre-operative antibiotics, take them 1 hour prior to your scheduled surgical time.
  • When applicable, follow any additional instructions your surgeon may have given you during your pre-surgery consultation.

How long will I be in the office?

You should expect to be in the office for the entire day. The duration of the surgery depends on the number of layers of skin tissue the surgeon needs to remove before the margins are clear. Do not schedule any other appointments for the day of the surgery. Bring activities to keep you busy such as reading, knitting etc. The office has snacks, juice and water available for patients, but please consider bringing your lunch.

Should I stop taking my medications?

  • If you are on a blood-thinning medication that requires INR testing (such as Warfarin or Coumadin), please be sure to complete the INR testing no more than 7 days in advance of your excision. Results must be less than 3.0. No surgeries will be conducted on patients above 3.0
  • Take all of your normal medications the morning of the surgery, unless otherwise directed.
  • If a doctor has placed you on Aspirin, Coumadin or Plavix for medical reasons, please continue to take the medication.
  • Unless prescribed by a doctor for medical purposes, do not take any of the following medicines for 7-10 days prior to surgery: Aspirin, Vitamin E, Fish Oil/Omega 3, flax seed oil, and some herbal medications and/or herbal supplement, including garlic. Also avoid Ibuprofen products (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).
    • These drugs decrease clotting ability and may lead to more bleeding and bruising. If these drugs are taken for medicinal or quality of life needs (such as pain from arthritis), they may be continued.

Additional Pre-Op Instructions

  • Avoid consuming alcohol 48 hours before and after the surgery. This may cause increased bleeding.
  • You will be sent home with a freshly sutured wound. Please follow the aftercare instructions, as well as any additional instructions given by your surgeon.
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