Mohs Surgery Pre and Post Procedure Education
What to expect when undergoing MOHS Surgery from MOHS Surgery recovery to pre-procedure recommendations.
Preparation for Surgery
Please observe the following guidelines for your comfort, safety, and best surgical outcome:
10 Days Prior to Surgery
- Avoid aspirin unless prescribed by your doctor. If your doctor has prescribed aspirin, keep taking it.
- Avoid Motrin and Motrin-like products (NSAID pain relievers). These products will thin the blood and make it more difficult to control bleeding. If you have aches and pains, take Tylenol instead.
- Stop taking Vitamin E, Ginko, Garlic, Ginseng, Glucosamine, Fish Oil, and St. Johns Wort. These products will thin the blood and make it more difficult to control bleeding.
- DO NOT STOP TAKING COUMADIN OR PLAVIX.
- Inform us if you have Mitral Valve Prolapse, heart valve replacements, prosthetic joints, joint replacement surgery, a pacemaker, a defibrillator, or if you are a diabetic. If you have any of these conditions, we can take extra precautions to keep you as safe as possible during, and after, the surgery. You will need to return to the clinic 7-14 after your surgical appointment for suture removal. Please mark this on your calendar.
- Purchase an ointment (Vaseline, AquaPhor Healing Ointment, or Polysporin) prior to your surgery date so that you have it at home for use after your surgery. Ointment is vitally important to the healing process.
Day of Surgery
- Enjoy a normal meal and drink a normal amount of water at the normal times on the day of surgery. We would rather have you fed and satisfied than hungry and miserable.
- Wear a dark colored button-up shirt and comfortable non-constrictive pants; white is a bad color for surgery.
- If you tend to get cold easily, bring an extra jacket.
- We recommend that you bring a companion, especially if you think you might have problems driving home.
- Pay attention to the post-operative surgery instructions we will give you.
MOHS Surgery Recovery
- Continue to avoid taking Motrin, Motrin-like products, Vitamin E, Ginko, Garlic,Ginseng, Glucosamine, Fish Oil and St. Johns Wort for 3 days after the surgery.
- If you stopped taking aspirin prior to surgery, continue to avoid taking aspirin for 5 days after surgery. However, as noted under the heading “10 Days Prior to Surgery,” if your doctor prescribed aspirin for you, continue taking it.
MOHS Surgery Recovery Time
- In general the time it takes to recovery from MOHS surgery varies depending on the size, where the affected area is, and how complex the MOHS surgery is.
- Each case varies and it is important to work with your dermatologist to understand the after effects of MOHS surgery.
- Complete healing of the surgery and scars usually take between a year to 19 months for complete healing.
Wound Care Instructions
Please observe the following guidelines to help your surgical wounds and biopsies heal quickly, successfully and with less scarring:
- If at all possible, do not remove bandage for the first 24 hours after surgery. Your bandage will keep your wound clean, moist, and will help prevent bleeding.
- After 24 hours, gently take off the bandage and clean the area with a mild soap and water. Do not spray water directly into the wound. Rather, gently run water over the wound to rinse off soap. Pat the area dry. Apply a film of ointment (Vaseline, AquaPhor Healing Ointment, or Polysporin) and re-bandage the area. Repeat every 24 hours until you return for removal of the sutures.
- Please do not immerse the wound under water (bath, hot tub, swimming pool, etc.) until one week after sutures are removed.
- Wounds heal better when they are moist. If a scab ever develops over a wound that can mean that the wound is too dry. Dry wounds scar easier, heal slower, and ultimately are not as strong compared to if they were kept moist during the healing process.
- Wounds can be kept moist by liberally applying an ointment (Vaseline, Aquaphor Healing Ointment, or Polysporin) to the wound.
- Liberally apply one of these ointments to the wound as often as is necessary to keep the wound moist. Keep applying the ointment until the wound has healed and no open sore remains.
- Please keep movement of the surgical site to a minimum for the first three weeks after surgery.
- Wounds only have approximately 5% of their strength one week after surgery and so care must be taken not to stretch open the surgical site. Avoid stretching or overusing the surgical area for three weeks and then slowly start to increase activity to the affected area.
- Occasionally wounds bleed. Almost all the time, this bleeding can be stopped by applying pressure to the area for 10 minutes. No peaking!!! After you have been applying pressure for 10 minutes, using a clock to keep time, slowly let up the pressure and see if the wound is still bleeding. If it is, please call the office and the physician will be paged.
- Even though exhaustive efforts are taken to eliminate infections, occasionally wounds do become infected. A little redness around the wound is normal. However, if the skin around the wound becomes increasingly more red, swollen, hot, and painful, you may have an infection. If this occurs, please call the office.
- Mild discomfort and swelling can be encountered during the healing process. This usually occurs 6-24 hours after surgery. Take Tylenol if needed. If discomfort or increased swelling occurs, please call the office.
- You will be given an appointment for suture removal. This is usually a painless process but some mild discomfort can be experienced.