Day of Surgery
Should I eat breakfast the day of surgery?
Whether you can eat or not depends on the type of anesthesia that you will be
given. This will be determined at the time of your consultation. If you are to
have the procedure done under local anesthesia with or without an oral sedative
such as Valium (diazepam), then you should eat breakfast.
If we have planned to have the Mohs procedure followed by reconstruction under
conscious sedation or general anesthesia, then you will not be able to eat, drink,
or take anything by mouth after midnight the evening before.
If there is any confusion, please call us so that this can be clarified prior to your
Should I take my normal medications the day of surgery?
Unless otherwise instructed, you should take all of your normal prescription medicines before surgery. You will only be instructed to stop your blood-thinning medications (aspirin, Plavix/clopidogrel, Coumadin/warfarin) if appropriate. This should only be done after you have discussed this with Drs. O'Quinn or Owen and your cardiologist or primary care physician.
You will always take essential medications such as those to control blood pressure and diabetes.
What happens the day of surgery?
Your procedure will be scheduled to begin in the morning.
Once you complete your registration at the front desk, our
staff will escort you to a room where you will see
Drs. O'Quinn or Owen and Courtney Aldridge, PA-C who will
answer any further questions you may have about your
diagnosis and the procedure, if necessary. You may be offered
a sedative (Valium/diazepam) prior to beginning the procedure.
If you have no one to provide transportation after your
procedure, we cannot offer the Valium to you. A local
anesthetic will then be injected around the skin cancer to numb
the area. The best results are obtained when the local anesthetic
is allowed to rest in the skin for several minutes before beginning
Once the site is fully anesthetized, the visible cancer will be removed. You may feel pressure, but no sharp pain. Then, a small margin (1-2 mm) of normal-appearing skin is removed from around the area. The tissue is then taken to the on-site laboratory and carefully mapped and color coded by Drs. O'Quinn or Owen. The Mohs histotechnologists will then immediately begin to process the tissue for microscope slides. The wound will be dressed and most of the time you will remain in the exam room for the remainder of the procedure.
The surgical procedure alone takes only 10-15 minutes. However, it takes a minimum of 1-2 hours to prepare and microscopically examine the tissues of each layer. Several surgical stages and microscope examinations may be required. Although there is no way to tell before the procedure how many stages will be necessary, approximately one half of tumors are removed in one stage, and the great majority are removed in three stages or less.
What do I do while I am waiting for the results?
We would like to make the time you spend with us as pleasant and comfortable
as possible. You will want to bring reading material to occupy for your time
while waiting for the microscope slides to be processed and examined.
Beverages and light snacks will be provided if needed. If your wait extends
through the lunch hour, you may be able to get food from one of the nearby
The most difficult part of the procedure is waiting for the results. We hope to
keep the time to a minimum, but since we do not know in advance how much
time will be necessary to remove the cancer and repair the wound, we ask that
you plan to be with us the entire day and that you make no other
Will I need someone to drive me home?
We always recommend that you have someone come with you to serve as your driver. Many people will bring a family member or friend to keep them company while they are waiting.
Is it absolutely necessary that someone stay with you the entire time? No. You can also have your driver drop you off, and we can call them on their cell phone when it is getting close to time to pick you up. If you choose to take a sedative such as Valium (diazepam) prior to the procedure, or you will be undergoing a higher level of anesthesia such as conscious sedation or general anesthesia, you absolutely need someone to drive you home. If you will be having the wound reconstruction after the Mohs procedure with a plastic surgeon or oculoplastic surgeon, you will need a driver. Also, if you are having work done around the eye, and a bandage is likely to cover your eye, you will need to have a driver.