Dermatology (Skin conditions)

Removal Of Skin Tumours Around The Eye Using Mohs' Surgical Technique

You are now scheduled for surgical treatment of a skin tumour near your eye. This information describes what will be involved.

The tumour will be removed using a technique called Mohs’ surgery. This allows us to be confident that it has been completely removed without also removing an unnecessary amount of healthy tissue. Only when it is clear that the tumour has been completely removed will the skin be repaired.

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 a smoking cessation service.

The first stage of surgery

  • You will be given a date and time to attend the Dermatology Surgical Unit operating theatre.
  • You may eat and drink as normal before your operation and will attend only as an outpatient unless informed otherwise.
  • The Doctor will remove your tumour under local anaesthetic. This involves numbing the area with an injection of local anaesthetic. You will not be asleep.

How long will it take?
After your tumour has been removed your wound will be left open but it will be covered with ointment and a dressing. 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 tissue which has been removed and not stitches to close the wound.

The second stage of surgery

  • You will have an appointment to return to the dermatology surgical unit 1-2 days after your first operation.
  • We will now know whether or not your tumour has been completely removed by the first stage of treatment.
  • If it has, the marking stitches will be removed, the wound redressed and you will be told when to attend the Eye Department.

Although most patients only require one operation to remove their tumour, others need further surgery. This will be done at your second visit if required and you will be asked to reattend the Dermatology Surgery Unit the following day.

The final stage of surgery

  • When we are sure that the tumour has been fully removed the wound will be closed by the Eye Department.
  • They will have already told you what this is likely to involve and whether you will require a local or general anaesthetic.
  • This stage of surgery is usually longer than the stages of tumour removal and if you take aspirin or warfarin (blood thinners) then you will have been advised whether to stop these beforehand.
  • It is usually difficult to assign a definite time for the final stage of surgery and you should be prepared to be in hospital for most of the day.
  • You can eat and drink as normal unless you are having a general anaesthetic or sedation.

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

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