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.

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 will need to book an appointment with the practice nurse well in advance of needing stitches removed or dressings renewed.

If you are concerned about discomfort when the stitches are removed, consider taking a simple pain killer, such as paracetamol, an hour before your appointment.

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.


You should try and rest as much as much as possible for the remainder of today. Remember you have had a small operation.

Sport is best avoided for the next three days and up to one week if your skin sample has come from a place located over ‘active’ muscles, especially the legs or shoulders. Stretched stitches may mean the wound will not hold together to heal properly or may leave a bumpy scar.


The area should be kept covered for the next three days. Ideally, the wound should be covered until the stitch comes out. If bathing, never leave a wet dressing in place. Wash your hands and change it for a plain plaster. A wet dressing increases your risk of infection.


The signs of infection can be any of the following:

  • Increasing pain at the site
  • Swelling, redness
  • A pus-like discharge
  • Bleeding

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.

Test results

The skin sample will be sent to the laboratory for analysis. You and your GP will be informed on the result of the test, usually by letter, but please state a preference at the time of your surgery.

You may be sent a dermatology appointment for results to see a specialist nurse or doctor if further discussion is needed. The results are usually available after three weeks, but sometimes may take longer if they are discussed at the multi-disciplinary meeting or if a further opinion is required.

Persistent 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. 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 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.

Review: 07/23