Years of exposure to the harsh rays of the sun is one of the major risk factors for developing skin cancer. While the discovery of a suspicious lesion is upsetting, you've made the right choices for your health by checking your skin and following through with your physician's recommendations to have the cancerous spot removed. Today, there are more options than ever before that give you the best possible prognosis for healing after a skin cancer diagnosis, and Mohs surgery helps to make sure that all of the cancerous cells are removed. Once you've set up your appointment, you can use these tips to prepare for the procedure.
Follow the Pre-Surgical Prep Recommendations
The Mohs procedure does require surgery, which means that you need to carefully prepare beforehand to prevent infection and excessive bleeding. Your surgical team will issue guidelines to follow before your appointment. For instance, you may need to stop smoking a few weeks before the procedure and avoid alcohol the night before. You may also need to stop taking certain medications and herbal supplements before the procedure that can interfere with blood clotting or raise your blood pressure. Make sure to follow these recommendations exactly so that you heal properly after the procedure is complete.
Plan Entertainment for Your Appointment
This type of skin cancer surgery involves the surgeon taking off a small layer of the suspicious area and sending it to the lab to find out if the lesion may go deeper into your skin. The lab results determine the next steps of the procedure, which may include removing more of the affected area to make sure that all of the cancerous cells are gone. In some cases, you may be at the surgical center for several hours while the process goes through several of these cycles. Bring a friend along to help keep you company, or you can consider bringing along a book or other form of entertainment to help make the time go by easier.
Ask About the Skin Repair Process
Once all of the cancerous lesion is removed, you will then enter the repair part of your procedure. The surgeon will determine the best way to repair your skin based upon how much of the area was removed. In some cases, the wound may be left open or it may be closed with sutures. In severe cases, a skin graft may be needed and you may need to follow up with a plastic surgeon if the area is in a highly visible place on your skin. While the skin repair needs may change, talking to your surgeon now about what they anticipate will happen helps you mentally prepare for your follow up care.