How to Prepare for Mohs Surgery

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. In fact, more than 3 million people every year develop nonmelanoma skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. That’s more than the number of people diagnosed annually in the United States with all other cancers combined.

When it comes to nonmelanoma skin cancer, Mohs Surgery is the gold standard treatment. The benefit of Mohs Surgery is that it removes the skin cancer while preserving as much healthy skin as possible. With this procedure, the risk of scarring is also reduced. This is key, since a majority of nonmelanoma skin cancer treated with Mohs surgery occurs on the face, including the ears, eyelids, and lips.

During the procedure, the surgeon removes the visible lesion along with a surrounding layer of skin. The layer is then analyzed for cancerous cells. If the layer is cancer-free, the procedure is done. If not, another layer is removed and analyzed. These steps are repeated until no cancer is detected. Each actual removal time usually only takes a few minutes but because of the laboratory check, you may be in the office for several hours total. The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia.

Dr. Brent Shook and Dr. Robert Cook-Norris of Specialists in Dermatology, with locations in Woodlands and Houston, Texas, offer patients these important guidelines to prepare for their procedure:

Tell your doctor about pre-existing conditions

If you have heart disease, an artificial joint, or are taking medication, it’s important to share that information with your doctor before surgery so they can make appropriate accommodations and recommendations.

Get a good night’s sleep

The day of your surgery may be a long one. Get a good night’s sleep before your procedure so you’re well-rested and strong.

Eat a good breakfast

You have no eating restrictions, so eat your normal breakfast to keep hunger pangs at bay. You might also want to consider bringing a snack to eat between rounds of tissue removal.  

Bring something to keep yourself entertained

The surgery may take several hours depending on the size of the lesion. Bring a book, a friend or an iPad to help you pass the time.

Don’t wear makeup

If the surgery is on your face, don’t wear makeup.

Wear comfortable clothing

There may be a lot of time spent sitting around and waiting for the surgeon to analyze tissue, so make things easier on yourself and wear loose, comfortable clothing.

For more information about Mohs Surgery, book an appointment with Specialists in Dermatology at one of their offices in The Woodlands or Houston, Texas, today.


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