Dr Downey; Dermatologist

Dermatologic Surgery

Dermatologic surgery is the excision (surgical removal) and suturing (sewing) to remove a skin lesion or to take a specimen of skin (biopsy). The procedure may take 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the lesion. Local anaesthetic numbs the skin around the area and this may take approximately 15 minutes, during which time the patient rests quietly. After the procedure, instruction will be given regarding the dressing and when to attend for removal of stitches. Non-sedating medication is used throughout the procedure. It is recommended that you consider having someone to drive you home. If you are at all unsure, please check with staff.

Although most patients do not experience pain afterwards, 2 paracetamol tablets every 4 hours may be taken. Avoid aspirin as this may cause bleeding. Please keep the wound dry until otherwise instructed. Contrary to popular belief, a wound that is covered heals faster than one left to the open air.

Rarely, bleeding occurs after surgery. If this does happen, lie down and place steady, firm pressure for 20 minutes over the bandage, as close as possible to the area oozing blood. If bleeding persists, after 20 minutes of steady pressure, repeat pressure for another 20 minutes. if bleeding should then persist, please contact the doctor who performed the surgery or your nearest after hours emergency clinic. Swelling and bruising may appear, particularly about the eyes, but subsides after 10-14 days. All wounds develop a small red surrounding halo, which gradually disappears over the ensuing weeks. A sense of tightness can occur afterwards, but this quickly resolves; it may take 6-12 months or even longer before feeling returns to normal. Very infrequently the area around the scar can remain numb permanently. All skin surgery produces a scar but this can be minimal depending on the site an size of the wound, the extent of the surgery and the age of the patient. Sometimes the scar can be placed in skin folds making the scar "near invisible". In other areas it is not so easy to hide the resultant scar, particularly if it is on the torso of younger people. It is generally advisable for the surgical scar to be covered with tape for some weeks post surgery. Occasionally, the body "over heals" and the scar may become thickened; taping and silicone gel may help this type of scar.