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Post-operative instructions following excision of skin lesion

This page will give you information following excision of a skin lesion. We hope it will help you and your recovery. It is not a complete guide, so if you have any queries please do not hesitate to ask a member of staff.

Local anaesthetic

If you have had an injection to make the area numb (Local anaesthetic) it may remain numb for up to 4 hours. If the lip or nose area has been numbed please be careful, do not drink anything hot or very cold (i.e. ice lolly from freezer) until the feeling has returned.


There can be some bleeding after any operation. If this occurs, apply firm pressure with a clean tissue for 15 minutes. If there is a dressing in place, leave it on but press on top of the dressing.

Do not keep taking the pressure off to see what is happening. If the dressing is very discoloured you may replace it later when the bleeding has stopped. This should control the bleeding but if bleeding continues or is not easily controlled, seek urgent medical advice by contacting Dermatology/GP or if out of hours attend A&E.

Pain control

You were given a local anaesthetic injection prior to your surgical procedure to numb the skin. The effect of this will wear off gradually over about an hour. If you feel any pain or discomfort at the site of operation after the anaesthetic has worn off you may take your preferred pain killer. Paracetamol is usually adequate. Do not take aspirin unless you are already taking this for other medical reasons.


If your wound becomes hot, swollen and very painful or oozes pus, it may be infected. You may require antibiotics. Seek medical advice by contacting Dermatology or your own GP.

Care of wound

If you have had a dressing applied remove it after two days. Bathe or shower as normal after that. Being careful to pat the wound dry rather than rubbing it.

Removal of stitches

Stitches have to be left in for different periods of time, depending on the circumstances. You will have been told when they need to come out. Certain types of stitches do not need to be removed; you will be advised if these stitches are used to close your wound and they will eventually dissolve but this can take several weeks.

If the stitches come out before they are due to be removed or if the wound opens up, please contact Dermatology during work hours.

If paper strips (steri-strips) have been used to cover the stitches it is best not to wet them. This causes them to come off. To promote healing and moisturise the scar once the sutures have been removed apply a thin layer of soft paraffin ointment (i.e. Vaseline) along the scar each day. Please use a new pot or tube of Vaseline to prevent contamination of the wound.


Almost all procedures will leave a scar of some sort. This is most pronounced in the first weeks following surgery, after which it will fade but not disappear.

Some individuals can develop thickened (keloid) scars. This is most likely to occur on the chest and back. Stretching of scars can also occur at these and other sites, though this will be minimized if you rest the area for several weeks following surgery. It can take up to a year until the final scar result is reached. If you are unhappy about your scar ask your GP to refer you back to Dermatology.

How will you get the results?

The lesion (piece of skin), which has been removed will be sent to the Pathology Department to be assessed. Depending on the result of these tests, you may or may not need a further appointment. You will be informed whether a further appointment may be necessary at the time of surgery. The results will be sent by letter in the post to you or discussed at your next appointment.