Assessing Patient Anxiety During Mohs Micrographic Surgery

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  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Wake Forest University Health Sciences
Updated on 9 July 2022


This study will assess the anxiety that patients are experiencing during a Mohs micrographic surgery. The study will compare the feelings of anxiety experienced by patients returning for Mohs surgery after already undergoing the surgery at least one time to feelings experienced by patients who have never had Mohs surgery before. The study will also compare the feelings experienced by patients who have read a vignette about the typical Mohs experience to the feelings of patients who have not read a vignette.


There has been a continual increase in cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer and melanoma over the last several decades. With the increase in incidence, there is also the need for increased treatment. Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) is highly efficacious, with cure rates in the upper 90% for both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, the two most common forms of skin cancer. MMS is used for tumors in cosmetically sensitive areas or areas of recurrence.

While MMS is usually performed in the outpatient setting, it may be an anxiety provoking experience for patients, ranging from the fear of a cancer diagnosis, to concerns about the procedural events of the surgery and associated pain, to the anticipation of their final cosmetic result. During a MMS procedure, unlike many other types of surgery or procedures, the patient is awake and aware of his or her surroundings, with periods of waiting interspersed throughout the procedure. Such aspects can lead to the high level of perioperative anxiety in MMS patients. The effects of listening to music, watching preoperative informational videos, and the use of web-based applications have been used to attempt to decrease anxiety in MMS patients. However, causes for differences in anxiety level between first time MMS patients and patients returning for a subsequent MMS procedure are not well characterized.

One approach to reduce patient anxiety involves patient education, where patients are presented statistics about the small likelihood of complication from the MMS procedure. However, patients interpret these data very subjectively. The study team proposes an alternative approach to patient education through patient vignettes. A previous study explored using a narrative video that included patient testimonials, but this video also used patient-physician interaction and drawings. In this study, patients will be provided short vignettes, that would include information about the experience of a typical MMS patient.

Condition Anxiety
Treatment Normal Education Material, Vignette
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03756792
SponsorWake Forest University Health Sciences
Last Modified on9 July 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Any patient undergoing Mohs micrographic surgery for cutaneous cancer, soft tissue tumors, and adnexal tumors
Subjects with a working knowledge of English
Age 18-80

Exclusion Criteria

Patients unable to fill out a paper or electronic survey or read a short pamphlet on prior patient experiences, or those unwilling to have either of the previously stated items read aloud to them
Individuals less than 18 or greater than 80 years old (line of questioning necessary for the study may be beyond understanding in this group)
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