Mohs surgery is frequently used by dermatologists to treat skin cancer. It is commonly prescribed when skin cancer is found on visible areas of the skin, such as the face and hands. Here are four things every patient can do to prepare for Mohs surgery.
1. Study up on the procedure.
Knowledge can be soothing. People often fear the unknown more than they need to. Before the day of your scheduled surgery, do some additional research on Mohs surgery. Learning about the technique used can put you more at ease. For instance, Mohs surgery is unique because it allows your doctor to remove small areas of skin little by little. The conservative approach used during this surgery will allow you to retain more of your healthy tissue. If you're worried about discomfort, find out how other patients who have undergone Mohs surgery felt about the procedure. Reading positive accounts can put you more at ease.
2. Dress appropriately.
Your dermatologist will need access to the area of your skin scheduled to undergo surgery. Make sure you dress appropriately for your procedure. If possible, wear clothing that does not cover the intended surgical site. If this isn't an option, choose loose clothing that isn't constricting. Shower before your appointment to ensure your skin is as clean as possible. If you are scheduled to have Mohs surgery on your face, skip wearing makeup for the day.
3. Inquire about anxiety treatments.
Mohs surgery is performed using local anesthesia, which means you will be awake the whole time. If you're nervous about doctor's appointments in general or Mohs surgery more specifically, you may be worried about your experience. Fortunately, there are anxiety treatments available for nervous patients. Discuss your fears with your dermatologist before the day of your surgery. They may be willing to prescribe an oral sedative for you. You'll take your sedative at home a few hours before your appointment. By the time your appointment arrives, you should be feeling relaxed and ready to undergo your treatment. If you're squeamish about the sight of blood, keeping your eyes closed during the actual surgical portion of the procedure can help you stay calm.
4. Bring something to distract yourself.
During the surgery itself, you will have to stay still. You may be at the dermatologist's office for a few hours while the tissue testing takes place. During the waiting period, you will have to stay put, since your dermatologist will not be able to close the surgical site until the procedure is completed. However, having a task to do can keep your mind occupied. Consider bringing a book or music player to distract yourself while you wait.
For more information about Mohs surgery, contact a dermatologist.