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.

Activity

You should try and rest as much as possible today.

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 surgical area is on an arm rest it as much as possible for 48 hours

If the surgical area is on a leg rest it as much as possible for 48 hours

After one week: Most wounds will be healed sufficiently that the area can be soaked in a bath

After two weeks: Most wounds should be strong enough to undertake normal activities

After one Month: Most wounds should be strong enough for lifting and vigorous exercise

Dressing

Leave dressing intact, clean & dry until seen by GP practice nurse

Please keep the dressing on and the area dry for…….. days. The dressing can then stay off. Treat area with care. After showering, pat dry.             

Replace dressing in…….. days and keep it clean and dry. The replacement dressing can then be removed in………days.

Never leave a wet dressing in place. If the dressing becomes wet, wash your hands and change wet dressing for a dry dressing / plain plaster / visit GP nurse. A wet dressing increases your risk of infection

Stitches 

If you are concerned about discomfort when the stitches are removed or having the dressing looked at, consider taking a simple pain relief, e.g. paracetamol, an hour before your appointment.

Steri-strips (sticky strips) may be applied over the wound following stitch removal to help support the wound.

Remember once the stitches have been removed / absorbed 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.

A greasy ointment, e.g. Vaseline, can be applied after removal of the dressing to prevent crusting.

The pathology result

This is normally available 2 to 3 weeks after the sample has been taken. The Dermatology Specialist will write to your GP explaining the result and any further treatment or action needed. We will send you a copy of this letter.

Complications

Signs of infection can be any of the following

  • Increasing pain at the site
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • A pus-like discharge

If you are concerned about any of the above, see your practice nurse promptly, taking this leaflet with you. Your practice nurse is the first point of contact. They will be able to assess your wound if you suspect it is infected.

Persistent Pain

If you experience persistent pain after 48 hours you need advice from your GP

Bleeding

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

If bleeding occurs at home, do not disturb the dressing. Press firmly on the area, for a full 15 minutes (by a clock). Do not take the dressing off, put an additional “pressure dressing” on top of the original

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

If bleeding persists you will need to visit your practice nurse or local Emergency Department for assessment. A clean dressing will be provided once bleeding has settled if this is necessary.

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

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