- My biopsy site has completely healed. Do I still have to have surgery?
When a biopsy is performed, only the top of the cancer is shaved off and sent to the lab for processing. Although the biopsy site may heal very well and it may look like there is no cancer left, the biopsy does not treat the skin cancer and there are still microscopic cells that are under the biopsy scar. These cells need to be completely removed, otherwise the cancer will return and it will be harder to treat.
- How long will the surgery take?
The surgery is a process that can take several hours. The average patient is here 4-5 hours, so you need to plan accordingly.
- Will I be awake for the surgery?
Yes. Your surgery will be done under local anesthesia. We can give you anti anxiety medicine to help relax you and make the surgery easier emotionally but then you MUST have someone with you to drive you home. NO EXCEPTIONS. The numbing can be uncomfortable, but most patients find that is not too terrible and the surgery should not hurt at all. Our staff have all been trained and have exceptional skills in this department.
- What kind of repair will be done?
We are unable to determine the type of repair that will be done ahead of time. Every patient is an individual with a different type of wound and different cosmetic needs. Once your cancer has been removed, Dr Popovsky will discuss the options with you and your family to give you the best result for you.
- Will I have a scar?
Yes. Anytime you undergo a surgical procedure where the skin is cut, there will be a scar. Dr. Popovsky has been trained in plastic surgical reconstruction and is very skilled in hiding the scar, but you can’t make the scar invisible.
- Do I need a driver?
A driver is required for anyone whose surgery site is in the vicinity of the eyes. Otherwise a driver is recommended because surgery can be stressful and tiring.
- Can I eat?
Yes. Please eat either a good breakfast or lunch prior to your appointment. Please avoid caffeine. We have snacks available in the waiting room.
- Do I take all of my medications?
Please take all of your regular medications as prescribed. If you are on a blood thinning medication such as Coumadin, Warfarin, Plavix, Aggrenox, Heparin or an aspirin or ibuprofen product, please call the office for further instructions.
- Can I wear make-up?
Yes. You can wear makeup if you wish, however we will remove it from the surgical site when we prep the area for surgery. Please try not to camouflage your biopsy site.
- Can I wear perfume?
No. We ask that you, and anyone accompanying you to our office, refrain from wearing perfume/cologne as we have several staff members and patients that are sensitive and have allergies.
- What should I wear?
It is best to wear comfortable clothes and to dress in layers as it can be chilly in the procedure rooms. We do have warm blankets available for your comfort.
- Am I allowed to leave in between layers?
No, we ask that you wait in the waiting room between layers.
- Am I allowed to smoke?
No. Nicotine can constrict the blood vessels and hinder the healing process. We ask that you either stop smoking or markedly decrease the amount that you smoke for 5 days prior to your surgery. You may NOT smoke on our grounds.
- Am I allowed to drink alcohol?
No. We ask that you refrain from alcohol for 5 days prior to your surgery, because alcohol will thin your blood and can make surgery more difficult.
- Am I allowed to take an anti-anxiety medication?
Yes. If you are feeling nervous or anxious regarding your surgery, please call the office and talk to one of our nurses regarding your concerns.
- Do I have a co-pay for my surgery?
If your insurance card indicates a co-pay, then a co-pay will be collected at the time of service. If your insurance card does not indicate this, then your insurance company will be billed first.
- Is the surgery covered by my insurance?
Our office will contact your insurance company to see if a prior authorization for surgery is required. This does not tell us if the surgery is a covered benefit for your individual policy. Please contact your insurance company to inquire if this is covered service.
- Can I have more than one site treated at a time?
No. We typically do not treat more than one surgery site at the same time. If you have multiple skin cancers you will be scheduled for multiple appointments that are approximately 6 weeks apart. We do this so that we can concentrate on one site at a time and allow it to completely heal before treating another site.
- Will I have a consult with the physician prior to surgery?
Yes. We do your consult and surgery at the same visit to minimize inconvenience and time off from work. If you would like to have a separate appointment for a consultation prior to surgery please call the office to schedule. Occasionally, Dr. Popovsky will want a separate consultation and we will contact you to schedule that visit.
- What if I decide not to have the surgery for my skin cancer?
While many skin cancers are not life threatening, they can be very destructive to the surrounding tissue. If they are left to grow they will cause significant damage and in certain instances can become life threatening. We recommend that you schedule a consultation with Dr. Popovsky to discuss this in person. There are alternatives to surgery in certain cases.