How to Prepare for Mohs Surgery

How to Prepare for Mohs Surgery

If you’re facing a skin cancer diagnosis, especially basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas, Mohs surgery could be the best treatment for your condition. As a Mohs surgery specialist in New York, Hooman Khorasani, MD, performs this advanced surgical procedure by removing cancerous tissue one layer at a time until abnormal cells are no longer present in the area.

This specialized outpatient treatment offers a 98% cure rate — the highest cure rate for skin cancer — while preserving as much of your healthy tissue as possible.

To ensure the greatest success rates for your procedure, Dr. Khorasani and his team provide detailed instructions to help you prepare for your Mohs surgery and recovery.

Two weeks before Mohs surgery

Dr. Khorasani works with you to identify any medications you’re currently taking that might increase your risk of excessive bleeding during your procedure. You should avoid these drugs, which may include:

  • Certain prescription drugs, like blood thinners
  • Aspirin or other medications containing aspirin, like Excedrin®
  • Ibuprofen, Motrin®, or Advil®
  • Naproxen or Aleve®

Smoking can also interfere with the healing process, so it’s important to quit for at least two weeks before and after your surgery.

One week before Mohs surgery

The week before your surgery, you should stop taking vitamins and herbal supplements that can increase your risk of bleeding or raise your blood pressure. These types of over-the-counter supplements often include:

  • Vitamins E and C
  • Fish oil
  • Garlic
  • Ginseng
  • Ginkgo biloba

For 24 hours before your procedure, you should also avoid beverages containing alcohol.

The day of Mohs surgery

On the day of your surgery, plan on being with Dr. Khorasani and his team from 9am to 3pm. Before you arrive, you should eat a normal breakfast, bathe or shower as usual, and dress in comfortable clothing that’s warm and easy to move around in. If your surgical site is on your face, don’t apply any makeup. You can also take any prescribed medications approved by Dr. Khorasani.

After administering a local anesthetic in the affected area, Dr. Khorasani performs your Mohs surgery in stages. First, he removes a thin layer of your skin in the treatment site and examines that skin under a microscope. He repeats this process until your tissue sample doesn’t contain any cancer cells.

This precise approach means that the duration of your Mohs surgery can vary from a few hours to the entire day. To help you pass the time, you should bring different forms of entertainment, such as a book, magazine, laptop, or tablet.

When your skin samples no longer show signs of cancer, Dr. Khorasani closes your surgical site using stitches, a skin flap from the surrounding area, or a skin graft from another part of your body. You can expect your surgical incision or wound to be at least twice as long as your cancerous lesion.

After Mohs surgery

Healing from Mohs surgery can vary from 2-12 weeks depending on Dr. Khorasani’s method of closing your surgical site. After your procedure, Dr. Khorasani provides detailed instructions on caring for your wound and overall health. Following these instructions not only reduces your risk of infection and supports the healing process, but doing so also can minimize scarring.

For the first two weeks after your treatment, it’s essential to avoid strenuous physical activity and heavy lifting. Dr. Khorasani and his team also provide instructions so that you fully understand how to clean your wound, apply antibacterial ointment, and protect it from the sun. You should also abstain from smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages during this time because they can slow down the healing process.

In addition to your surgical wound, it’s also common to experience bruising and swelling following Mohs surgery, especially if you receive treatment on your scalp, forehead, or nose. These symptoms typically fade within 7-12 days and typically ease if you keep the affected area  elevated higher than your heart, and by icing the area for 24 hours following your surgery.

To learn more about preparing for Mohs surgery, call Dr. Hooman Khorasani or schedule an appointment online today.

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