Day of Surgery
Should I eat breakfast the day of surgery?
Whether you can eat or not depends on the level 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, 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 or take anything by mouth after
midnight the evening before.
If you are confused by this, please call us so that you can
clarify it for you prior to your procedure.
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, Coumadin) if appropriate. This should only be done after you have discussed this with Dr. O'Quinn and your cardiologist or primary care physician.
You will always take critical 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
Dr. O'Quinn 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) 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 the procedure.
Once the site is fully anesthetized, the visible cancer will be removed. You may feel pressure, but no sharpness or pain. Then, a small margin (1-1.5 millimeters) 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 Dr. O'Quinn. The Mohs histotechnologists will then immediately begin to process the microscope slides. The wound will be dressed and you will be free to rejoin your friend or family member in the reception area.
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 and you will be asked to wait in the reception area between stages. Although there is now 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. Magazines,
beverages, and light snacks will be provided in the reception
area. If your wait extends through the lunch hour, you may
be able to get food from one of the nearby restaurants.
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 commitments.
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 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.