Dermatology Associates of Ithaca offers its patients in Ithaca and the surrounding areas surgical excision to treat both benign and cancerous lesions. We recommend surgical excision when clear margins are needed to prevent recurrence and spread of the lesion.
To reduce the possibility of bleeding, please follow these guidelines:
- Limit activities that will increase your heart rate or blood pressure for at least 24 hours.
- Keep the operative site elevated.
- Sleep with your head and shoulders elevated on extra pillows.
Should bleeding occur, apply firm, constant pressure on the bandage for 15-20 minutes. This will usually stop minor bleeding.
Pain should be minimal. In nearly all cases, Extra Strength Tylenol will alleviate pain. Avoid taking medications that can thin your blood, such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Aleve, or Advil, unless your physician has prescribed them for daily use.
Infection seldom occurs when the wound care instructions have been carefully followed. Signs of infection are: increased pain, swelling, redness or yellowish drainage several days after surgery.
Wound care instructions:
- Leave the waterproof bandage in place until your suture removal appointment. If it falls off, replace it with Vaseline and a clean bandage.
- Avoid activities that stretch the wound.
- Avoid immersion in a pool or outdoor water.
Frequently Asked Questions (Day of Surgery)
- Should Coumadin or Plavix be stopped before surgery? - Coumadin or Plavix and other medically prescribed anticoagulants should NOT be stopped before surgery.
- Is it important to stop taking aspirin before surgery? - After about two days it is safe to start taking aspirin as needed again. If you take aspirin or other blood thinners on a daily basis as recommended by your primary care physician however, please do not stop taking it.
- When can I take aspirin again? - After about two days it is safe to start taking aspirin as needed again. If you take aspirin or other blood thinners on a daily basis as recommended by your primary care physician however, please do not stop taking it.
- Will I be awake during the surgery? - YES. Procedures are performed with local anesthesia, i.e. injection of numbing medication (lidocaine) into the skin at the surgical site. You will not have general anesthesia or sedation.
- On the day of surgery is it permissible to eat? - Please continue with your regular eating habits on the day of surgery.
- After surgery, will I be able to drive? - You will generally be able to continue regular daily activities such as driving after surgery. However, if surgery is done on the face or leg, it may be advisable for someone else to drive you home after surgery.
- What can I do for pain after surgery? - Pain after surgery is generally slight. In nearly all cases, Tylenol will relieve any pain you may experience. You may take an acetaminophen 500 mg tablet once you get home to minimize your discomfort once the numbing medicine wears off a few hours after the procedure. Avoid taking medications that can thin your blood, such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Aleve, or Advil, unless your physician has prescribed them for daily use in which case you may continue taking your normal dose of the prescribed medication.
- When can I resume normal activity after surgery? - Normal activity such as walking, driving, and shopping can be resumed immediately after surgery. However, please be aware that you have stitches in place and if there is an activity that causes you to feel stretching of the stitches, you should slow down or avoid it. To promote optimal wound healing, we recommend waiting until the stitches have been removed (in one week for most procedures on the face and ears, two weeks for the rest of the body) before exercising. Exercising too soon after surgery can result in bleeding, breaking the stitches open, and poor wound healing. Although you will have a waterproof bandage in place and showering is fine, please do not immerse the bandage through swimming or bathing. We also recommend avoiding outdoor activities that can expose the wound to dirt and infection, such as hiking and camping.
- Do I need to avoid the sun after surgery? - It is best to avoid sun exposure after surgery because sun exposure can increase the risk of a darkened scar.
- Is it normal to experience swelling after surgery? - In the first few days or first week after surgery, swelling may occur, particularly with surgeries on the face or hand.
- How can swelling of the wound be prevented? - Although in many cases swelling is unavoidable, elevation of the area and using ice can be helpful. When awake, sit or stand upright, or keep wound site elevated. At night, sleeping with pillows or sitting up in a La-Z-Boy can help.
- It it normal to experience bleeding after surgery? - It is normal for there to be some bleeding on the bandage. If the bleeding soaks through the bandage, then apply firm pressure to the wound for 15 minutes without peeking. If it is still bleeding, then apply pressure for another 15 minutes. If the bleeding still continues, please call the general office number. If it is outside of regular office hours, please call the emergency line to be connected to Dr. McAllister.
- Should hydrogen peroxide be used to clean the surgical site? - Hydrogen peroxide may impede wound healing, so we do not recommend using it. If a daily dressing change is needed, mild soap and warm water may be used to cleanse the wound beforehand.
- Should I dress my wound with Neosporin? - A significant proportion of the population is allergic to Neosporin. We do not generally recommend daily bandage changes, but if this is needed, we recommend Aquaphor or Vaseline instead, applied with a clean Q-tip underneath a regular bandage.
- What kind of bandages should be used? - We will review wound care and bandaging on the day of surgery. Most of the time we will recommend leaving the Tegaderm or Nexcare waterproof bandage in place until you return for suture removal.
- How long should the wound be kept bandaged? - Depending on the wound location and the type of procedure and repair that you have had, we usually recommend that you keep the waterproof bandage on until you return to the office for suture removal.
- How do I contact the office in case of an URGENT medical concern? - Please call the general office number for urgent medical concerns. After normal office hours, please call the office and press the emergency line number to be connected with Dr. McAllister. In case of a life-threatening issue where you are unable to reach Dr. McAllister, please call 911.
- When can I start exercising again? - To promote optimal wound healing, we recommend waiting until the stitches have been removed (in one week for most procedures on the face and ears, two weeks for the rest of the body) before exercising. Although you will have a waterproof bandage in place and showering is fine, please do not immerse the bandage through swimming or bathing.