American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

Consultation and Preparing

The first step in treating skin cancer is a consultation with a plastic surgeon. The success and safety of your skin cancer surgery depends very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. You'll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires, and lifestyle.

During your consultation be prepared to discuss:

  • Your type of skin cancer
  • Medical conditions, drug allergies, and medical treatments
  • Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use
  • Previous surgeries
  • The likely outcomes of your treatment and any risks or potential complications

Your surgeon will also:

  • Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
  • Examine your skin
  • Take photographs
  • Discuss your options
  • Recommend a course of treatment
  • Discuss likely outcomes of surgery and any risks or potential complications

Prior to surgery, you may be asked to:

  • Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding

Your plastic surgeon also will discuss where your procedure will be performed. Skin cancer surgery may be performed in a minor treatment room, an accredited office-based surgical facility, licensed ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital. If your procedure is performed with any sedation, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.

Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon questions. It's very important to understand all aspects of your skin cancer procedure. It's natural to feel some anxiety. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.


Patient Care Center