Instructions Before Your Skin Surgery

This information will help you prepare for your skin surgery.

Please follow the instructions below before your skin surgery. This will help reduce the risk of problems during your surgery. Your nurse will review these instructions with you.

Preparing for Your Surgery

Please tell us if you:

  • Have had any lymph nodes removed
    • Have any of the following:
    • A heart valve replacement
    • Bacterial endocarditis (an infection of the valves and inner lining of the heart )
    • A defibrillator or pacemaker
    • Bleeding problems
    • Prosthesis (including a total joint replacement)
  • Are taking antibiotics before a dental procedure

Please tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medications:

Aspirin (aspirin/dipyridamole) Heparin Pletal® (cilostazol)
Aggrenox® (aspirin/dipyridamole) Innohep® (Tinzaparin) Pradaxa® (dabigatran/etexilate)
Ecotrine® (aspirin) Lovenox® (enoxaparin)   Warfarin (Coumadin®)
Fragmin® (dalteparin) Plavix® (clopidogrel)  

Medications such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and vitamin E can increase your risk of bleeding during surgery. Do not take medications that have them unless your doctor says it is okay. Below is a list of common NSAIDs and medications that contain aspirin:



Arthritis Pain Formula











(most formulations)

Excedrin® Extra-Strength

Analgesic Tablets and Caplets





Alka Seltzer®



(most formulations)





Percodan® Tablets

(oxycodone and aspirin)


(aspirin and caffeine)

Children’s aspirin



(most formulations)





Anaprox DS® 


Children’s Motrin®








This list does not include all NSAIDs or medications that contain aspirin. Ask your doctor or nurse if you are unsure about any medications.


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7 Days Before Your Surgery

Stop taking any herbal or botanical home remedies or other dietary supplements, including:

  • Echinacea
  • Garlic
  • Gingko (also known as gingko biloba)
  • Ginseng
  • Turmeric
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Valerian
  • Herbal formulas

This list does not include all herbal or botanical home remedies or other dietary supplements. Ask your doctor or nurse if you are unsure about any supplements.

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The Day Before Your Surgery

  • Shower and shampoo your hair the night or morning before your surgery.
  • Take your usual medications, unless your doctor gives you other instructions.
  • Do not drink alcohol for 1 day before your surgery.


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The Day of Your Surgery

  • You can eat and drink as usual.
  • Do not put makeup, moisturizers, or shaving lotions on the site of surgery.


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Call Your Doctor or Nurse if You:

  • Have to cancel or change your surgery appointment
  • Have any questions or concerns.
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If you have any questions or concerns, talk with a member of your healthcare team. You can reach them Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at ____________________. After 5:00 pm, during the weekend, and on holidays, please call____________________. If there’s no number listed, or you’re not sure, call 212-639-2000.
Instructions Before Your Skin Surgery
©2015 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - Generated on October 8, 2015