Relief of pain

The local anaesthetic that you have had will wear off in the next 1 to 2 hours.

Provided you do not have an allergy to the painkiller, it is safe to use over-the-counter painkillers to reduce your pain so you can be more active.

It is important to use painkillers carefully, as they have side effects. Paracetamol is the simplest and safest painkiller. However, always get advice before taking paracetamol if you have liver or kidney problems

You could also try anti-inflammatory tablets like Ibuprofen as long as you don’t have a condition (such as a stomach ulcer) that prevents you using them.

Always take your painkillers at regular intervals at the recommended dose / exactly as prescribed. This is to make sure they work as well as possible for you. The aim is for pain control to be constant.

Putting off taking painkillers can make the pain more severe. It may then take longer to get it under control when you do take them.

If over-the-counter painkillers do not work, ask for help from your GP or pharmacist.

Changing position and using a pillow to support the wound can help reduce discomfort.

Please do not use a hot water bottle as this can lead to scalding of the skin. 

Check with your GP if you have been prescribed other analgesia.


You should try and rest as much as possible for the remainder of today.

Avoid strenuous exercise, bending or lifting that could stretch or injure the wound

Sport is best avoided during the healing process

Avoid smoking after procedure for at least 7 days

The wound may itch, advised not to scratch

If the surgical area is on the head or neck, keep head elevated for the first 48 hours after surgery to reduce swelling.

Sleep with extra pillows as elevation is very important for the healing of the wound

If the skin graft is on an arm elevate it on a pillow, keep it raised above heart for the first 48 hours after surgery to prevent blood clots.

If the skin graft is on a leg elevate it on a pillow for 48 hours, ensuring the foot and calf are raised slightly higher than the hip.

To practice hourly gentle stretching of the calves of the leg (pointing toes towards head), gentle foot and ankle exercises to improve the circulation and prevent blood clots

The wearing of an elastic support leg stocking during the early stages of healing is not advisable as there is a high risk of disturbing the graft


A diet high in protein will help the tissue repair faster. Meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, bread, nuts and seeds are all high-protein

Once healed, apply a regular application of emollients to promote wound healing. This will be discussed at the clinic appointment

Once healed, avoid sunbathing and apply a total sun block for the first year to avoid burning


Stitches will be removed at the clinic appointment (next week)

If you are concerned about discomfort when the stitches are removed or having the dressing looked at, we recommend you consider taking your usual pain relief, an hour before your appointment.

Remember once the stitches have been removed the wound may appear healed but it will not be strong. It can take several months for skin to regain its strength and flexibility. Treat the area with care.


Both areas should be kept covered and dry at all times.

  • Do not remove either dressing.
  • A wet dressing increases your risk of infection.


Infection: The signs of infection can be any of the following:

  • Increasing pain at the site
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • A pus-like discharge
  • You will need to see your GP for a course of antibiotics
  • Liaise with the Dermatology/Skin Cancer Specialist Nurse via either  number at the end of this document

Pain: If you experience persistent pain after 48 hours you may need advice from your GP.


The operation site will be checked for bleeding before you leave the department.

Minor blood loss often occurs. For moderate bleeding advised to apply additional pressure to the outside of the dressing for 15 minutes (by the clock) and place a secondary dressing over the area.

If bleeding continues to visit own Practice Nurse who should then liaise with the Dermatology/Skin Cancer Specialist Nurse via either number below

If possible, elevate or raise the area, e.g. arm or leg

Be vigilant for bleeding if you take anticoagulants, e.g. Aspirin or Warfarin.

Ref: 04/21/03
Review: 07/23