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Two friends talking over the phone exchanging advice

You’re Having Mohs Surgery? Advice For A Friend

“Guess who has a basal cell carcinoma?” my friend texted me last week. I was surprised and scared for her, and I texted back that I would talk to her later that day. When we met at spin class, she lifted the leggings covering her left shin and showed me the spot, and told me she was having Mohs surgery the following week. My friend has listened to me speak about my two Mohs procedures, and she has also read the articles I’ve written for this site.

She asked for any advice I had, and this is what I shared with her.

Before surgery

  1. Buy food and anything else you’ll need for the next week. You won’t be allowed to lift anything after the surgery, so get everything you need beforehand. I also didn’t want anyone to see the bandage on my face for the first few days after my first Mohs surgery (the second time I didn’t care). So it was helpful to have all the food I needed in the house beforehand, and to do any errands that needed to be done.
  2. Buy an ice pack and/or frozen peas. I put them on according to the post-op instructions and it worked to reduce the swelling. Plus, the peas felt softer than the hard ice pack against the surgical site.
  3. Make sure you have extra strength Tylenol and Advil in the house to take after the surgery.
  4. The night before the procedure, do something that helps you relax and takes your mind off what’s going to be happening the next day. I know that’s easy to say, but for me having dinner with friends helped to distract me. Other ideas include taking an exercise class, doing yoga, taking a walk, anything that you like to do.
  5. Don’t schedule any travel for at least one week after surgery, after the surgeon removes your stitches.
  6. Go to the gym, go for a run or a walk, lift weights, or do any other strenuous activity, because you won’t be allowed to exercise for about a week after the surgery.

Day of surgery

  1. Bring a snack and water and something to read. You will have to wait while they bring the sample to the lab. I waited between 45 minutes – 1 hour. It’s helpful to have something to do to distract you and something to eat and drink so you’re not starving.
  2. Be prepared to see some people with big bandages in the waiting room.  It surprised me a bit, and scared me too.
  3. Eat something before you go so you’re not starving while you’re there.
  4. Take control of what you can control.
  5. Follow the post op instructions, as I’m sure you’ll do.  But really, my stitches stayed in and my scar looks pretty good.

Does anyone have any other advice to offer? What worked for you before, during and after Mohs surgery?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • funinthesun
    6 months ago

    Thank you Renee on the article for radiation on basal cell Carcinoma it was very interesting . After six days of radiation my nose it is just now starting to get sore . After 32 days Of radiationI was told I will have a sore on the inside of my nose and it will probably bleed Hopefully that will be the end of it.

  • Renee Feldman moderator author
    6 months ago

    Hi Debbie. I’m sorry your nose is starting to feel sore, and I hope the rest of the radiation treatment goes smoothly. You’re making good progress toward the goal of being finished with treatment. Please check in here as often as you’d like. We’re here for you. Take care. Renee Moderator Author

  • funinthesun
    6 months ago

    Hello my name is Debbie and I just joined the group .Would like to get information and basal cell carcinoma. I am in my fifth day of radiation because I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on my nasal tip. Was going to do the moles surgery until I found out I would need a nose flat . I chose 32 days of radiation and at times second-guess myself.

  • Renee Feldman moderator author
    6 months ago

    Debbie, it’s Renee again. Hope you’re feeling well today. I just found this article on our site. Please let me know if it’s helpful and I’ll look for more in the meantime. Take care. Renee Moderator Author

  • Renee Feldman moderator author
    6 months ago

    Hi Debbie and welcome to the group. I’m glad you’re here. How are you feeling after 5 days of radiation? As you can tell from the article I wrote, I’ve had Mohs surgery. I will try to find information for you on radiation. I am thinking of you and we are here to support you. Renee

  • Kwright
    6 months ago

    Hi Renee, Just wanted to say I appreciated your posts. I am having MOHS surgery next week on my face and I’m getting pretty anxious about it so reading about your experience has been really helpful. Thank you for sharing!

  • Renee Feldman moderator author
    6 months ago

    @kwright I’m so glad that reading about my experience has helped you. I, too, was quite anxious before each of my Mohs surgeries, both of which were on my face. Please let me know if you have any questions, and please know the entire community is here to support you. Remember to bring food and water with you, bring a friend if you want support while you wait for them to bring the sample to the lab (it can feel like a long time while you’re waiting, so if you don’t bring someone with you, bring something to distract you, whatever works for you — music, a book, a relaxation app). And please know that you will heal and that you’re doing what you need to do. We are here for you. Please keep us posted as to how it goes. Renee Moderator Author

  • kccgm
    2 years ago

    I found the spray Benadryl was a HUGE relief for the itching!
    Pliable icepacks for the bed at night.
    The curad blue tape is great and does not pull or hurt when changing bandages.
    Renavator oil by systemic systems has helped me healed the fastest!

  • Renee Feldman moderator author
    1 year ago

    Forgot to say thank you for this very helpful advice! Thank you!

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