Dermatology (Skin conditions)

Removal Of Skin Tumours Using Mohs’ Surgical Technique

Mohs’ surgery is used to treat skin tumours when it is not clear where the tumour begins and ends, and the doctor wants to ensure that the tumour has been completely removed before closing the wound.

Your tumour will be removed under local anaesthetic in an operating theatre in the Dermatology Surgical Unit. This involves freezing or numbing the area around the tumour with an injection. You will not be put to sleep (i.e. you will not have a general anaesthetic).

You may eat and drink as normal prior to your operation and will attend only as an outpatient unless informed otherwise.

Smoking cigarettes reduces blood flow to the skin so the wound may not heal properly leaving a worse scar than usually expected. Smokers are strongly advised to stop smoking two weeks before the operation and for at least two weeks after the operation. You can get help to stop smoking from your GP or smoking cessation service.

After your tumour has been removed your wound will be left unstitched, covered with ointment and a dressing applied. It is essential that this dressing is left in place and kept dry and clean until your return visit.

Any mention of stitches by the medical staff during your operation refers to stitches used to mark out the tumour area to aid the microscopic examination of the specimen.

You will normally be asked to return to the surgical unit two days or so after your operation. At this stage we will know whether your tumour has been completely removed or not. If it has not been completely removed you will need further surgery.

These second operations will normally be shorter than the first one.

When your tumour has been fully removed the wound will be closed using stitches. In some cases the wound will be left to heal on its own, in which case the wound will need to be dressed regularly by hospital staff or your practice nurse until it is completely healed.

Please do not hesitate to ask any member of staff if there is anything you are unsure about.


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