What does my doctor need to know about my health before undergoing Mohs surgery?
Preparing for surgery is a crutial part of any medical procedure, including Mohs surgery for the removal of skin cancer. Whether it’s Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, or Melanoma, there is vital health information that you should relay to your surgeon to help ensure the most optimal outcome and easiest, event-free recovery after your surgery. Please make sure to make your surgeon and the health care team aware of the following information prior to your Mohs surgery appointment.
Your Mohs surgeon should know as much about your skin cancer as possible. If a biopsy has been performed, make sure your surgeon has a copy of the pathology report. Your surgeon will request as much medical information as possible from your dermatologist, primary care doctor, or other physician that diagnosed you with skin cancer. If your cancer has been treated previously, make sure your surgeons knows when, how and by whom. If any additional imaging laboratory studies have been performed, make sure your Mohs surgeons is aware of the results. Furthermore, your surgeon might request some additional blood work or medical studies before undergoing surgery. This will ensure your doctor knows as much about your skin cancer as possible prior to undergoing surgery.
What medications you are currently taking can effect your ability to have Mohs Micrographic Surgery, as well as how quickly the surgery can take place. There are certain medications that can increase the chance of complications during and/or after surgery. This includes medication such as blood thinners. Even the local anesthetics which are used during Mohs surgery can interact with certain medications or medical conditions. And it’s not only prescription medicines. Over the counter, herbal, holistic and naturopathic medicines can all have an effect on the body during surgery and the recovery period. With any surgery or medical procedure, ask your doctor to guide you on which medication regimen is best suited for you. Mohs Micrographic Surgery may use
A complete list of your allergies and intolerance to medications is an important piece of your personal medical history. Medications are sometimes given during office surgical procedures, including antibiotics, pain medication and anxiolytics. Don’t assume an allergy to shelf fish is not relevant to your medical procedure. Shelf fish allergies often cross react with iodine, a common surgical cleanser and prep used for Mohs. It’s a good idea to carry a list of all your medications and allergies with you at all times. Show this list to your Mohs surgeon to ensure he or she is aware of any potential interactions that could cause a problem.
As with current medications, knowing your medical history is a component key your doctor needs to schedule and perform Mohs Micrographic Surgery. Important things to share include respiratory issues, bleeding disorders, recent surgeries, immunosuppression and organ transplantation. A history of heart disease, vascular disease, as well as the presence of a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator is also crucial information to relay to your surgeon. Do not assume your doctor told your Mohs surgeon about your health history – always verify that they are aware of your pertinent health issues
Previous health records can be very important when planning your Mohs Surgery. Divulging previous instances of Heart Attack, Circulatory problems, or previous instances of Skin Cancer can be crucial to share with your doctor. This is also a great time to be inquisitive, as your questions can help the doctors in deciphering what is important to take into consideration for you appointment.
As with most medical procedures, each patient will have a different experience in regards to medications and individualizing a treatment. “Each patient’s needs are going to be unique,” states Dr. Adam Mamelak, a board certified Dermatologist and Mohs Micrographic Surgeon in Austin, TX. “I am always happy to help ensure that each patients questions, concerns, and information is heard.”
Smoking is one of the major causes of poor wound healing after Mohs surgery. Make sure your physician of aware of your smoking and tobacco habits prior to surgery. Alcohol can also thin the blood and predispose patients to bleeding after skin surgery. Alcohol should be avoided for 3-4 days prior to Mohs surgery if possible.
Not all patients require nor should receive the exact same care. Some patients have specific needs. They might use a motorized wheelchair to get around, have a seeing eye dog, or require an interpreter to fully understand the procedure that they are undergoing. All of these issues can impact where and when the surgery is performed. Guardians and medical decision makers should give specific instructions or be present whenever possible.
At Sanova Dermatology, we use state of the art technology and techniques to provide the best care possible. If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, please contact us to answer any questions and provide comprehensive treatment for your condition.