4 Things Patients Can Expect From Mohs Surgery
Sun exposure can increase your chance of developing skin cancer, especially if you frequently get sunburns. Certain people are more likely to get skin cancer due to their family history or fair skin tones. If you develop cancer, a dermatologist can offer treatment. Mohs surgery is a procedure used to physically remove cancerous lesions and tumors from your body. Understanding the surgical procedure can help you stay calm when the day of your Mohs surgery arrives. Here are four things patients can expect from the operation:
1. You will speak with your doctor.
Before you undergo surgery, your doctor will review your medical records to ensure you're a good candidate for Mohs surgery. Your doctor will discuss your prognosis and share the risks and benefits of the procedure with you. You will have the chance to ask about the healing process and the surgery itself. This consultation is sometimes performed in-office, but due to COVID-19 concerns, you may have a phone consultation instead. If you have a phone consultation, your dermatologist will call you at a scheduled time to discuss your upcoming surgery.
2. You will arrive early.
Your surgery will be scheduled for a time when you're available. Ideally, you should arrive early to fill out any paperwork that must be completed before the operation. If your skin cancer is located beneath your clothing, you may be asked to change into a medical gown to allow the doctor easy access to your body. Arriving early will help you stay calm. You don't want to feel rushed before a medical procedure, even if it is a minor surgery.
3. You will receive anesthesia.
Your dermatologist wants you to be comfortable throughout your surgical procedure. To that end, they will inject local anesthesia into the part of your body that will be operated on. Local anesthesia works quickly. Within a few minutes, you should be numb and ready for the operation to proceed. Mohs surgery can take longer than other forms of excision surgery due to the lab testing part of the procedure. If your anesthesia starts to wear off, your dermatologist will give you additional injections.
4. You will be asked to wait during testing.
During Mohs surgery, your dermatologist will remove thin layers of tissue from the cancerous site. This tissue will be tested in a lab. Testing ensures that all of the cancerous cells are removed. You will be made comfortable and asked to wait during the testing portions of your procedure. Once your lab results come back negative for cancerous tissue, your dermatologist will suture your skin closed.