Skin Surgery

The skin is the bodies largest organ. There are a number of lesions, lumps and bumps that can appear on the skin. These can be benign (non cancerous) or malignant (see section on skin cancer. Common lesions removed include moles or naevi, inclusion cysts, lipomas, seborrhoiec keratoses, solar keratoses.

Skin surgery consultation

regarding a lesion attempts to achieve a diagnosis and determine the reason for removal. Reasons for removal include establishing a diagnosis, appearances or the lesion is troublesome because of its size, position or repeated infections.

All lesions are sent to the laboratory to be examined by a pathologist even if thought to be harmless.

Skin surgery

to remove lesions is usually performed under local anaesthetic. The local anaesthetic is mildly acidic and so can sting as it is injected. It works very quickly and means that a patient will feel no pain during the procedure although the patient may still feel pressure, pushing or pulling. The local anaesthetic often contains some adrenaline which helps to control bleeding. After the surgery is completed a dressing is then applied which both supports and protects the wound.

After surgery

Dr Mills suggests that pain relief (Paracetamol) is begun before the local anaesthetic wears off which is usually 2-3 hours after surgery. For adults 1g Paracetamol can be taken 6 hourly, children will require a dose based on their weight.

As the adrenaline wears off then there may be some minor ooze. Some minor staining of blood on the dressing is common and nothing further needs to be done. Antibiotics are not routinely prescribed.

The area that has been operated on should be rested as much as possible. For facial surgery keep the head as elevated as possible and avoid bending down or lifting. It is suggested that the patient uses an old pillow case for a couple of days and sleeps with 2 pillows.

Follow-up is usually about a week at which time the wound will be checked and sutures if present may well be removed. The incision then is taped.

Dr Mills encourages patients to support their wounds with tapes for 2 months. After this time massage of the scar with oils or moisturisers is beneficial.

Remember even though the incision has healed on the outside the internal healing can last for 3-4 months. During this time the scar can appear red and raised. The process of scar maturation takes place from 6-18 months. During this time the scar flattens becomes softer and becomes less red.