Pre-Op Instructions

You have been scheduled for Mohs surgery with Dr. Andrew Breithaupt. Mohs surgery is the gold-standard treatment for most skin cancers and Dr. Breithaupt is an expert in the procedure. If you are unfamiliar with Mohs surgery, please click here for a detailed explanation. The following will give you a sense for what to expect and how to prepare for your surgery.

  • A typical Mohs surgery takes about 2-3 hours, sometimes a bit more and sometimes a bit less.  The majority of that time is waiting for lab results so please be patient.  During those periods you will be by yourself in your own room so feel free to bring something to pass the time (book, ipad, work, etc).
  • The procedure will be done entirely under local anesthesia, the same that was used for the biopsy you had already.  Because of this, you can eat normally the day of surgery and drive yourself to and from the office.  The initial shot of anesthesia will be a slight pinch and sting but Dr. Breithaupt will take the time to be gentle and minimize any discomfort.  After the local anesthesia has been administered, you should feel only some mild pressure.
  • Plan on taking it easy for the remainder of the day after surgery.  It’s OK to exercise the morning before, but afterwards we will want you to refrain from any activity that will raise your heart rate or blood pressure for the first 48 hours.  This helps to minimize things like bleeding, pain, and post-operative swelling.  If the surgery is on your leg, it helps to try and elevate that leg above the level of your heart during this time.  After the first 48 hours, it is OK to gradually resume normal activity but be careful to avoid any motion or activity that causes pain or tightness in the surgical site.
  • If you take blood thinners (Eliquis, Xarelto, Plavix, coumadin, etc), please contact the prescribing doctor to see if you can hold the medication for 3 days before surgery and 1 day after.  If you are unable to hold the medication, it is still OK to proceed with surgery, we will take extra precautions to control any bleeding.
  • If the surgical site is an area with hair, please shave the hair immediately around it.  If you are unable to do so at home, we can do this for you in the office on the day of surgery.
  • Complete post-op instructions will be given to you after your surgery (or can be found here and here).  Most surgeries will be closed with sutures that are typically removed in the office 1-2 weeks after surgery.  Occasionally the site will be left to heal on its own in which case there may be a follow-up 4-6 weeks later.