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Mohs Surgery Clinic treats skin cancers and uncontrolled growth of cells in the skin. There are many kinds of skin cancer. The most common forms are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Most skin cancers can be cured if found and treated early.
Mohs surgery allows for sparing normal tissue. It offers the highest cure rate. Other treatments include excision, burning and scraping, prescribed creams, or radiation.
Preparing for Surgery
On the day of your surgery:
Do not wear any make-up (if the procedure is on your face).
Wear comfortable layered clothing.
You may eat regular meals on the day of surgery.
Take all routine medicines.
Take all your normal medicines, even blood thinners. If your doctor prescribed you anti-anxiety medicine to help you relax, bring them with you. Only take them after you and the surgeon decide on the procedure. Do not take them at home. Also, if you plan to take anti-anxiety or pain medicines you will need to have a driver at discharge to take you home.
You may need antibiotics before surgery if:
The cancer is around your mouth and lips.
You have a heart valve replacement.
You have a heart transplant with valve abnormality.
You have a unrepaired congenital heart condition.
You have had a previous heart valve infection.
You have had prosthetic material to repair heart valve.
What to Bring
Some snacks and drinks.
A book, magazine, or laptop computer.
A complete list of current medicines with dosage.
A list of past and present health problems and surgeries. We need to know of an implanted device.
If you need to cancel your visit, please call us at least 24 hours before the visit.
Day of Surgery
When you arrive, you will check in at the registration desk, or a kiosk. Staff and the surgeon will talk about your treatment. All cell phones must be turned off in the procedure rooms. You may have one adult come with you. They will wait in the waiting room during surgery.
If your surgery is on the face, there may be swelling that affects vision. You will need someone to drive you home.
Plan to be in our clinic for most or all day to remove and analyze the tissue. Schedule nothing else that day.
We will numb the area. We will remove the tissue and send it to our lab. We will stop any bleeding and bandage the area. You will wait in the exam room until the tissue is reviewed by the surgeon. If any cancer cells remain, the surgeon will remove those areas. We will repeat this process as many times as needed until the results come back clear.
After all the cancer is removed, your surgeon will decide what is best for healing. This may include:
Closing with stitches
Doing a skin flap or graft
Rarely is there a need for repair by a plastic surgeon. It will depend on the size of the wound, where it is, and what you and your surgeon decide. Areas close to the eye may need to be repaired by a plastic surgeon.
For a few days after surgery, you may have pain, fatigue and swelling. This will limit how much you can do. You may have weight and activity restrictions for one to several weeks. Your surgeon will talk to you about this after the surgery is done.
You will return to the Mohs Clinic or see your local doctor to have the stitches removed in 1 to 3 weeks.
You will need routine follow-up skin exams. You may schedule those with a dermatologist or primary doctor. The surgeon will help you decide this after your visit.
All forms of skin cancer treatment will leave a scar. Most sites heal very well. Many take up to a full year to heal. Talk to our staff if you have questions or concerns about a scar.
Please watch our “What to Expect” video to prepare for your visit:
Insurance and Billing
Please have a referral from your doctor (UWHC or from an outside clinic) before your visit here. This will help avoid delays.
UW Health physician billing questions call (608) 833-6090.
UW Health clinic billing questions call: (608) 262-2221.
Priceline can give estimates of cost at:
Who to Call
UW Health Junction Rd Medical Center
451 Junction Road
Madison, WI 53717
UW Health E Terrace Dr Medical Center
5249 East Terrace Drive
Madison, WI 53718
If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.