Post-Operative Skin Cancer Surgery Instructions

Here are instructions to help you take care of the surgery site for the next 1-2 weeks.

Supplies – You will need the following:

• Tap Water
• Telfa Dressing / Gauze and Surgical Tape / Bandaids
• Q-Tips
• Vaseline

Wound Care

• Clean wound one-two times daily beginning 24 hours after surgery.
• Clean wound with warm, soapy water.
• After cleaning, generously apply Vaseline with a clean Q-Tip.
• Cover your wound with a Telfa Dressing cut to the size of the wound and tape, or just Bandaids.
• Continue wound care until stitches are removed or as your doctor directs. If the surgical site is swelling, you may elevate the site and apply an ice pack as long as the bandage stays dry.

Personal Hygiene – In the first 24 hours, showers or baths are allowed if the bandage remains dry. After 24 hours, the sutures may then get wet but do not immerse in bath water. Swimming is allowed 4-5 days after the surgery. Heavy lifting and exercise are not allowed until the sutures are removed.

Prescriptions – Unless the doctor states otherwise, take Extra Strength Tylenol for pain as needed. Alcohol should be avoided for two days.

Contact our office if the following occurs:

• Bleeding which saturates your dressing (spotting of dressing is expected). To stop bleeding, hold direct pressure over the dressing for 20 minutes and do not remove the dressing.
• Fever greater than 100 degrees F or 38 C.
• Signs of infection, i.e., redness, swelling, foul-smelling drainage, pain or heat.
• Severe nausea and vomiting.

Return to the Education Center