Penn Dermatology

Preparing for Mohs and Reconstructive Surgery at Penn

Patients should review all pre-treatment instructions with their physician prior to undergoing Mohs surgery and reconstruction. Penn's Mohs surgeons are available for consultation or questions prior to surgery.

How to Prepare for Mohs Surgery and Reconstruction

Prescription Medications

Before surgery, it is not necessary to stop medications prescribed or ordered by primary care or other physicians, including blood thinners.

Patients should bring a complete list of their medications on the day of the scheduled surgeries.

Patients that take Coumadin® (warfarin) should have a routine blood study (PT/INR) drawn no more than one week before the Mohs surgery appointment and notify Penn Dermatology with the results prior to surgery. The results can be faxed to the office where the Mohs procedure is being performed or contact the office with the name and contact information of the facility that performed the blood study so the Penn Dermatology staff can obtain the results directly. The fax number is 215-662-4132.

Over-the-Counter or Supplemental Medications

Stop taking all medications not prescribed by a doctor or referring physician for protection from potential bleeding complications seven to 10 days prior to surgery including:

  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen (e.g., Motrin®, Advil®)
  • Vitamin E
  • Nutritional or health-food supplements

Refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages three days prior to the surgery and three days after the surgery since alcohol increases the risk of bleeding.


Antibiotics are usually not prescribed prior to Mohs surgery. However, Penn Dermatology recommends antibiotics 30 to 60 minutes prior to the surgery for patients that have had:

  • Joint replacement surgery within the past year
  • Artificial heart or heart valves
  • History of endocarditis/infected heart valves
  • Severe dysfunction of a heart valve

Patients that qualify for any of these medical situations should call the office where the surgical procedure will be performed two to three days before the Mohs surgery appointment so an appropriate antibiotic can be prescribed.

Eating Before Surgery

Patients should eat a normal breakfast prior to arriving for surgery. If the surgery requires several stages, patients can eat a snack or lunch during the day. Patients may also pack a lunch or bring snacks.