Information for patients undergoing skin surgery

What happens before my operation?

Your operation will be done under local anaesthetic.  This means that you will be awake during the procedure, so you may eat and drink as normal beforehand.  You may take all the medication as usual on the day of the procedure, unless advised to do otherwise by the doctor.  The doctor will examine you once more and ask you to sign a consent form to say that you are happy to go ahead with the procedure.

Can I bring someone with me?

You may bring someone with you to the department, however, if you have children, please do not bring them, unless someone is able to accompany you to look after them in the department.

What happens after my operation?

You will be given specific aftercare instructions following your operation.  You may have stitches which may require removal by your practice nurse or in the dermatology department.  You may be asked to sit outside in the waiting area for a short while, until you feel well enough to leave the department.  It is advisable to have someone drive you home.  However, if you are driving, it is advisable to wait 30mins before going home.

Is there anything else I should look out for?

Although most people have few or no problems, the following may occur:

Pain / discomfort: should you experience any pain or discomfort once the local anaesthetic has worn off, then you should take a mild pain killer such as paracetamol.  If you have been advised not to take paracetamol, or any other painkillers, please let the doctor know before your operation.  Ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID) should generally be avoided.

Bleeding: when this occurs, firm pressure to the wound for 30 minutes usually helps stop the bleeding.  If this occurs during the day, then please contact the Dermatology Department.  If out of hours, then you may have to go the nearest Accident and Emergency department.

Bruising: swelling and bruising is normal, especially on the face and varies depending on how big the surgical procedure was.  This may take some weeks to fully settle.

Wound infection: signs that the wound has become infected are;  increasing redness,  soreness, swelling and discharge  from the wound. Contact the Dermatology Department if you are concerned.

Wound opening: If the wound opens up, please contact the Dermatology Department as you may need further treatment.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Although we do try to see you at your given appointment time, you may have to wait longer than expected.  Please bear with us, as this may be due to the operation before yours having taken longer than expected, or due to urgent cases having to be seen

It is important to avoid alcohol for 24hours after your operation.  Alcohol increases blood pressure and so increases the risk of bleeding after surgery. Also avoid smoking post operatively, as this will impair wound healing.  If you have any forthcoming holidays planned, please inform your doctor so that your surgery can be booked around these dates.  Work and leisure activities may be affected, so again, discuss any concerns with your doctor prior to surgery.