Day of Surgery

What to expect on the day of your MOHS Surgery.

On the day of your surgery, you will arrive at your scheduled appointment time where you will be placed in two waiting rooms. The first waiting room is for general check-in. You will then be moved to a second waiting room exclusively for Mohs patients.

A nurse will then bring you to a procedure room. She will ensure that your information is up-to-date, clarify the area we will be operating on, re-review the risks of the procedure and have you read and sign a consent form. They will also help you to relax and alleviate anxiety by talking with you and answering any further questions you may have about the procedure. Dr. Dawes will then arrive, ensure your questions are answered, administer a local anesthetic and when you’re ready, begin the procedure.

From there, you will be bandaged and brought back to the waiting room, where you will have an opportunity to have a snack and relax while waiting for the specimen to be microscopically examined. Our compassionate nursing staff are right there for you, should you have any further questions or concerns.

This process is repeated until your lesion is completely removed. While most lesions are removed after two such cycles, the number of times required to repeat this process may vary considerably. You should plan to remain at the surgical centre for the entire day, 5-8 hours is typical. Snacks will be provided, but you are encouraged to bring a lunch.

Once your lesion has been removed, you will once again be brought into a procedure room to consider and discuss the repair and reconstruction of the resulting surgical defect. Once reconstruction is complete, you will be bandaged appropriately and given a document outlining instructions on post-operative care and adequate sunscreen protection.

You will also be given a phone number to call with any urgent concerns. This number will be available for you to call 24/7, where Dr. Dawes will be available to assist you.


Are there any medications I will need to stop taking before my surgery?
Please refer to the ‘Patient Information Package‘ for specific instructions regarding your medications. In some cases, patients are referred to an internal medicine specialist prior to booking their Mohs procedure.
CAN I bring someone with me to my appointment?
Space in the waiting room at the surgical centre is limited; therefore, there is not room for every patient to have a family member stay with them.  Patients requiring a translator, those who have significant memory issues or have special needs are required to have a friend of family member stay with them at the surgery centre for the entire length of their procedure.
Can I go to sleep for the procedure?
All Mohs micrographic surgery is performed under local anesthesia.
Will the local anesthetic hurt?
“I don’t like needles” is a phrase often heard in the clinic. The pain associated with the administration of a local anesthetic is difficult to avoid completely despite flawless technique. Dr. Dawes has injected thousands of patients and helps to ensure that they experience the least amount of pain possible. Typically, Dr. Dawes will use a combination of fast-acting and long-lasting local anesthetics to minimize the need for repeat injections.
How long can I expect to be at the surgical facility?
Patients should plan to be at the surgical facility for the entire day; 5-8 hours is typical. On occasion, patients may be required to stay later. Snacks will be provided, though patients are encouraged to bring a lunch.  Please arrange to have someone drop you off and then pick you up from the Calgary Mohs Surgical Centre (CMSC) around 3pm. If we finish earlier (or if you will need to stay longer), we will call your ride to inform them.  There is also a phone in our waiting room for patient use. 
Will my reconstruction be on the same day and within the same surgical facility?
Usually, yes. Occasionally, Dr. Dawes may have to delay the repair, or perform it under a general anesthetic at the South Health Campus Hospital.
Can I drive myself home following the procedure?
Patients should not drive themselves home after their procedure. Please arrange to have someone drop you off and then pick you up from the Calgary Mohs Surgical Centre (CMSC) at 3:00 pm. If we finish earlier (or if you will need to stay longer), we will call your ride to inform them.  There is also a phone in the waiting room for patient use.
What if I have questions or concerns after the procedure?
Upon completion of the procedure, patients are provided with written instructions for wound care, along with a phone number to call 24/7 with questions or concerns. Alternatively, patients may book an appointment to see Dr. Dawes on an urgent basis to have their questions answered.
Where will I go for follow-up?
Usually, patients will return to the Mohs surgical facility for their follow-up appointment.
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