What to Expect Before Mohs Cancer Surgery?

What to Expect Before Mohs Cancer Surgery? | St. Louis, MissouriIn Mohs surgery, a specially trained doctor eliminates one thin skin tissue layer at a time and then examines it under a microscope.

If there are any cancer cells seen, the surgeon removes another skin layer from the precise area on the skin where cancer cells remain. This process is repeated until no more cancer cells remain.  

Board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness and Jackie McGinness, FNP (Nurse Practitioner) provide skin care treatments to patients in Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and surrounding locations.


The Preparation

For Mohs surgery candidates, it is vital to take note of any existing medical conditions. For instance, if a patient has an artificial joint or a heart murmur, they should consult their primary care doctor to understand whether pre-op antibiotics are required.

Patients with a pre-existing cardiovascular condition should speak to their physician as well. They may or may not direct them to discontinue any blood thinners.

For patients who do not have any pre-existing conditions, there are still certain things to keep in mind. Specialists recommend discontinuing aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, including ibuprofen, for a minimum of seven days before the procedure.

Patients should also avoid consuming alcohol and taking vitamin E supplements a few days ahead of the procedure as well.

The patient should get plenty of sleep and a normal breakfast on the day of the procedure. It is not necessary as local anesthesia is used for the surgery.

On the day of the Mohs procedure, it is advisable for the patient to clear their schedule for the day as the process may take time.  The patient may also want to ask a family member or friend to accompany them to the procedure. In case the surgery is on the face, it should be makeup free.


Tobacco and Blood Thinners

The patient will need to avoid tobacco use in any form for a specified duration prior to the Mohs surgery. The nicotine in tobacco smoke impedes the smooth flow of oxygen in the blood, which causes an increase in surgical risks and the probability of delayed healing.

In case the patient has been taking any blood thinners such as aspirin or NSAIDs or specific herbal supplements and vitamin E, they may need to stop using these for some time. The surgeon may also need to alter the schedule of prescription medications in discussion with the prescribing doctor.


Practical Arrangements

Working professionals should apply for leave from their workplace for a few days beforehand. Non-working patients will also need to adjust their social interactions for a later date.

In addition, the patient should arrange for a responsible person to drive them back after the procedure. They may also arrange for aftercare for the initial few days of recovery, if necessary.

The patient should ideally complete any pressing home or office related tasks beforehand to enjoy a relaxed post-op recovery phase. They may also consider preparing a recovery kit at home, containing the following items:

  • Prescription meds and antibiotics
  • Over the counter pain drugs
  • Bandages
  • Loose fitting, front-open clothes
  • Favorite movie DVDs or music CDs

Board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness and Jackie McGinness, FNP (Nurse Practitioner) receive patients from Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and nearby areas for skin care procedures.
If you would like to learn more about procedures and treatments at Metro East Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center by Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Jamie L. McGinness please contact us here or call (618) 622-SKIN (7546)

Taking new patients in and around the greater St. Louis, Missouri and Illinois area: East St. Louis Missouri, Shiloh Illinois, Belleville, Millstadt, Saint Clair County, Madison County and more.

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