Perioperative Management of Anticoagulant Therapy during Cutaneous Surgery: 2005 Survey of Mohs Surgeons


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Ellen S. Marmur, MD, Chief, Division of Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 5 East 98th Street, 5th floor, Box 1048, New York, NY 10029-6574, or e-mail:


BACKGROUND The perioperative management of anticoagulation and antiplatelet therapy is a controversial topic in the field of dermatologic surgery. Dermasurgeons must weigh the risk of bleeding against the risk of thrombotic complications when deciding how to manage perioperative anticoagulation.

OBJECTIVE Our aim is to present a summary of current practice in anticoagulation management perioperatively during cutaneous surgery. We compare our results to those found in a similar survey in 2002.

METHODS AND MATERIALS A questionnaire surveying current practice in perioperative management of anticoagulant therapy was mailed to 720 dermasurgeons.

RESULTS Thirty-eight percent of dermasurgeons responded to the questionnaire. Of the responding physicians, 87% discontinue prophylactic aspirin therapy, 37% discontinue medically necessary aspirin, 44% discontinue warfarin, 77% discontinue nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and 77% discontinue vitamin E therapy perioperatively at least some of the time. Although clopidogrel was not surveyed, 78 physicians included comments about the management of this agent.

CONCLUSION Dermasurgeons were more likely to continue medically necessary aspirin and warfarin in 2005 compared to 2002, with the most dramatic shift evident in the management of warfarin. They were more likely to discontinue prophylactic aspirin, NSAIDs, and vitamin E. Surgeons were concerned about bleeding with the antiplatelet agent clopidogrel. More evidence-based medicine is necessary to set guidelines for the management of anticoagulation and antiplatelet therapy perioperatively.