What To Expect During Mohs Surgery

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Mohs surgery is the best method for fully removing cancerous lesions and tumors from the skin. It is often used on patients' faces, hands, chests, and any other highly visible areas. If your doctor recommends Mohs surgery as part of your treatment, you may have questions about what that entails. Here are four things you can expect during Mohs surgery.

1. You will be given local anesthesia.

Mohs surgery does not typically require general anesthesia, which makes it safer for patients. It also means you won't have to abstain from eating or drinking before your surgery, which can keep you more comfortable. When your surgery begins, your skin will be cleaned and prepped around the operating site. Your doctor will inject local anesthetic into your skin, so you won't feel the actual surgical procedure. 

2. A technician will assist your surgeon.

Mohs surgery is unique, since your skin cells will be examined for the presence of cancer during the surgery itself. As a result, the surgery can take longer than other forms of skin cancer surgery. Your doctor knows you'd like the surgery to be concluded as quickly as possible. To facilitate a fast, effective surgery, a technician will assist your surgeon. As your surgeon cuts away layers of skin, a technician will prepare it to be examined under a microscope, applying dye and preparing a slide. Your surgeon will be the one checking for the presence of cancer, so you can rest assured you will be taking advantage of their medical expertise.

3. The incision will be closed with sutures.

After your doctor has removed all the necessary tissue, there will be a small wound in your skin. Your surgeon will close this wound using stitches. They will send you home with aftercare instructions. Depending on the type of sutures removed, you may need to return to have your stitches taken out after the healing process is complete.

4. You may be left with a scar.

Mohs surgery is preferred because your surgeon can be more conservative when removing tissue. It allows the greatest amount of skin to go undisturbed. Unfortunately, depending on the amount of cancerous tissue present in your skin, you may be left with a scar. Proper care can minimize the amount of scarring that occurs. Keep in mind that your scar will lighten and fade over time, so it's best to wait at least a year to see how it heals. If you're still bothered by the appearance of your scar after this time, you can talk to your doctor about plastic surgery.