How to Prepare for Mohs Surgery
Mohs surgery also called Micrographic surgery is a precise surgical procedure carried out by a specially trained Board Certified Dermatologist like The Dermatology and Laser Group’s lead dermatologist, Dr Arash Akhavan. The procedure is aimed at removing visible cancer-containing skin while preserving as many healthy skin tissues in the surrounding area as possible.
Unlike other forms of skin cancer, the Mohs surgeon can see where cancer starts and stops. With this advantage, the surgeon can remove portions of the cancerous skin progressively until it’s all out and a healthy surrounding remains. By the end of the surgery, your surgeon will be able to ascertain that all cancer cells have been removed, hence the procedure’s high cure rate.
What types of skin cancers can be treated with Mohs surgery?
Mohs surgery is recommended for the treatment of common types of skin cancer including Basal Cell Carcinoma (BSS) – a very common form of skin cancer that affects 2 million Americans every year. BSS mostly appears on patients’ faces or necks as a result of prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiations.
Besides BSS, Mohs surgery is also used to treat Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) –another common skin cancer that is not always life-threatening but can cause severe health implications if left untreated. Other forms of cancer that can be treated with Mohs surgery include Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans (DFSP), Extramammary Paget Disease (EMPD), Merkel Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma, among others.
Why Mohs Surgery?
According to The Dermatology and Laser Group’s founder and Board Certified Dermatologist, Dr Akhavan, “Mohs surgery is a low-risk procedure with an extremely high cure rate compared to alternative techniques, hence the preference by most skin doctors across the globe.” The cure rate for Mohs surgery is 99% for newly diagnosed cases and 94% for recurring cases.
Another reason you should consider this procedure to treat any of the aforementioned conditions is that it is typically performed on an outpatient basis –so you won’t have to stay in the hospital at all especially if you don’t like the hospital setting. Dr. Akhavan estimates that the procedure can take at least 4 hours once the area has been examined and mapped up for surgery.
Minimal scarring and finding out the results of the surgery by the time you leave the doctor’s office are also among the several reasons this surgery is common.
How the surgery goes down
On the day of the surgery, your dermatologist will examine the area that needs surgery to establish what they’re up against. Once the doctor is sure about what needs to be done, you’ll be prepped for surgery immediately. This includes sterilizing the area and getting your dose of local anesthesia to numb the surgery area. Mohs surgery is a simple procedure, in fact, you won’t even need to change into a surgical gown unless the position of the tumor dictates otherwise.
The doctor then begins removing cancerous cells from the skin and sending them to the lab for examination. Your surgeon will continue getting rid of the skin cells from the zoned area progressively until all the cancerous cells have been removed and only healthy cells remain. Note that you’ll be under local anesthesia, so you won’t be knocked out during the procedure.
After all the cancerous tissues have been removed, the doctor will decide how to treat the wound. Small wounds can be left to heal naturally without stitching. Deep wounds will need stitching or grafting depending on the extent of tissue removal carried out during the surgery.
How to prepare for a Mohs surgery
According to Dr. Akhavan, it is crucial to discuss the preparation for the surgery with your doctor before your appointment for the procedure. The doctor recommends the following if you’re scheduled for a Mohs surgery:
- Notify the doctor of the medications or supplements you’re currently taking
Your doctor needs to know all the medications and supplements you’re taking before the surgery. This will help them establish if you’re using anything that might increase bleeding during and after surgery or will interfere with anesthesia medication.
Your doctor will ask you to discontinue these medications temporarily until some safe time after the surgery. You shouldn’t stop taking any prescription drugs unless instructed by your physician.
- Never drink alcohol 24 hours to surgery
Alcohol thins your blood, thus preventing it from clotting and stopping the bleeding during surgery. This poses a significant risk of uncontrolled bleeding, which is not something you’d want during surgery.
- Wear comfortable clothes
Wear loose-fitting clothes that won’t rub against the incision area after the surgery. Plus, you need to be comfortable during the procedure.
- Clear your whole day’s schedule
While the surgery typically lasts 4 hours, there’s no way of predicting this will always be the case in every procedure. Just set the whole day for the surgery.
- Bring someone or something to read to pass time while waiting for results
The examination can take between 90 minutes and 2 hours. You, therefore, need something to pass time with while waiting. Even better, have someone you can talk to while the doctor works behind the scenes to bring you the results.
- Get a good night’s sleep the day before the surgery
About The Dermatology and Laser Group
The Dermatology and Laser Group is a dermatology practice located in Midtown East on E 60th St & Park Ave. The founder Dr. Akhavan has been operating the clinic for over a decade- and is dedicated to providing his patients with the highest quality care, using state-of-the-art equipment and carefully crafted techniques.
Dr. Akhavan’s goal is to completely cure the skin cancer while also maintaining the best cosmetic result possible, which various of our follow-up treatments such as Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing, Hydrafacial, Dermal Fillers can help.