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Saturday, July 20:  All UR Medicine facilities are open as scheduled and providing safe patient care, with a goal to return all clinical services to full efficiency by early next week.
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UR Medicine

UR Medicine / Dermatology / Specialty Centers / Mohs Surgery / Preparing for Mohs Surgery

Preparing for Mohs Surgery

The best preparation for Mohs Surgery is a good night's sleep. The morning of your surgery, follow your normal routine. Bathe or shower, eat breakfast and take any prescription medications. If you need to take any additional medications during the day, please bring them with you.

Since you may be at our surgical facility for a large portion of the day, remember to bring a book, your laptop computer, or other reading materials with you. Also pack a light lunch, if you would like. We will provide light snacks.

What happens on the day of my surgery?

Mohs Surgery appointments are scheduled for early in the day. (In almost all cases, the surgery will be completed on an outpatient basis.) After your arrival and check-in at the reception area, one of our nurses or medical assistants will escort you to the surgical suite.

  • If you have not had a prior consultation visit, our nurse will go through the procedure with you. This includes taking a health history, checking your blood pressure and pulse and answering any questions you may have. Please remember to bring a list of all your medications with you on the day of your surgery.
  • You will then be seated on a comfortable surgical table and the area around your skin cancer will be anesthetized (numbed) using a local anesthetic. You may experience slight discomfort, but usually this is the only pain you will feel during the procedure.
  • After waiting approximately five to ten minutes for the anesthetic to work completely, a layer of tissue will be removed. This tissue will be carefully diagrammed, mapped and then sent to a specially trained technician to be frozen and processed into microscopic slides. To expedite this step, the lab is located directly in our office.
  • Our nurse will then place a pressure dressing over your surgical wound and you will be free to return to the surgical waiting area.
  • On average, it takes approximately one hour for the slides to be prepared and studied. During this time, you may sit in the waiting room, read a book or magazine and have something to eat or drink.

Our goal is to remove the cancer in the first layer or stage; however, more often than not, our surgeon may need to remove sequential layers of tissue. In doing so, we try not to remove any more normal skin than necessary. At the end of your Mohs Surgery, you will be left with a surgical wound. Once we are sure that you are free of skin cancer, we will discuss our recommendations for repairing the surgical wound with you.