Most patients do not have severe pain, but experience slight discomfort. If this occurs, we suggest you take two tablets of Tylenol every four hours. Avoid compounds containing aspirin, such as Anacin, Bufferin, and Excedrin; as well as products containing ibuprofen, such as Advil, Nuprin, and Motrin. These compounds may cause bleeding. For larger reconstructions, your doctor may prescribe a stronger pain medicine. Please let her know if you have any allergies to any pain medicines.
Occasionally, bleeding follows surgery. If this happens, do not become alarmed. Lie down and place steady, firm pressure over the wound as close as possible to the bleeding area. Apply the pressure continuously for 20 minutes. If bleeding persists after 20 minutes of steady pressure, apply pressure for an additional 20 minutes. If bleeding still continues, call our office at (208) 327-9521
or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Swelling is very common following surgery, particularly when it is performed near the eye. All wounds swell a little. Usually this is not a problem and the swelling diminishes as the wound heals. Use of ice packs and elevating the affected area can be helpful.
All wounds will drain to some extent during the first week or two. This is why frequent dressing changes are necessary.
Infection of the wound is unusual. However, if you notice thick, foul-smelling fluid coming from the wound, call our office immediately. An increase in redness, swelling, and pain the first 2 days after surgery can indicate an early infection and you should call our office. An antibiotic may be necessary.
All wounds will develop a halo of redness which disappears gradually. If the area becomes extremely red and itchy you may be allergic to either the ointment or tape. Call our office if this condition develops.
All surgeries leave a scar. However, your scar will improve and become less noticeable as time passes.
STITCHES AND SKIN GRAFTS.
If we close the wound with sutures (stitches) or place a skin graft, you should keep the area clean until the next visit in accordance with the written wound care instructions you received. If you misplaced your wound care instruction sheet, it is available on our website: . If you experience foul smelling fluid coming from the wound, call our office immediately at (208) 327-9521, as an infection may be developing.
What to expect after the wound has healed
You may experience some tightness as the wound heals. This is normal and usually lessens with time. Patients also commonly experience some itching after their wounds have healed. This is often relieved by rubbing a small amount of petroleum jelly on the scar. Frequently, tumors involve nerves, and it may take up to a year or two before normal feeling returns to an area. Sometimes the area remains numb permanently. Only time will tell.
The scar tissue that grows over the wound contains many more blood vessels than the skin that was removed. This results in a red scar that may be sensitive to temperature changes. This sensitivity improves with time and the redness gradually fades.
Sometimes the scar is unacceptable to the patient and the patient's family. If this is the case, surgical scar revision may be considered. However, we usually advise patients to wait 6-12 months before having the scar revision performed. This is because the scar continues to improve in appearance and becomes less conspicuous up to one year after surgery.
Once your surgery is over, regular skin exams by your dermatologist are important. These visits can help with early detection and treatment of any new skin cancers that may develop as well as the rare recurrence of the skin cancer that was treated.
As a person who has had skin cancer, you are at risk of developing others in the years ahead. You should be seen at least once every year by your dermatologist. If you notice any suspicious areas on your skin between visits, it is best to check with your physician to see if a biopsy is needed.
Please read the Skin Cancer Information
on this website.
Please call our office for to schedule a consultation: (208) 327-9521