In office procedures, whether skin cancer related or cosmetic, can make any patient feel a little nervous. It is completely natural to have some anxiety about medical procedures but a little but of preparation can help ensure that your procedure is as stress-free as possible.
--Two weeks before your procedure: Stop taking NSAIDS and vitamin E as these can lead to bruising and bleeding. If you taking aspirin, Plaxix, Coumadin or other blood thinners under the direction of a physician for management of heart disease or stroke prevention, your dermatologic surgeon will likely have you continue taking this medication. Call your doctor for any questions about your medication and supplement list.
--The day before your procedure: make sure you have directions to the office and have picked up any prescriptions that you were given in advance. Confirm the time with your ride or emotional support buddy if you need one or if your procedure will involve taking medication for relaxation or pain.
--The night before your procedure: try to get in bed early and get a full night of rest. Drink plenty of water. Being rested and hydrated will help you deal with any stress you feel on the day of your procedure and will help you maintain emotional balance. Avoid drinking alcohol, as this will lead to increased bleeding and bruising.
--The morning of your procedure: take a shower and wash your skin with antibacterial soap. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, or makeup to your skin. If you are having a procedure near the eye, keep contact lenses out and bring your glasses.
--Bring to your procedure: some procedures in the dermatology office, like Mohs micrographic surgery or hair restoration, involve long hours with waiting. Bring plenty of things from home to keep you comfortable and entertained. We recommend a funny book as humor has been shown to decrease stress and sensitivity to discomfort. Bring snacks and drinks-- we provide these at the office but you may want something specific. Dress in layers-- many people feel chilly in medical offices so make sure to bring a light jacket or sweater or even a throw blanket to keep you comfortable. Bring headphones with your favorite tunes, your pocket reader, your tablet loaded with a movie-- anything that will help you pass time and take your mind off of the procedure.
--During your procedure: maintain excellent communication with your doctor and also with staff. Need something to make you more comfortable (to use the restroom, get a drink, change positions, listen to your music, etc)? Don't be afraid to ask! Your doctors and their staff want to make you as comfortable as possible!