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What do I need to do before my surgery?

Take regular meals as normal (there is no need for you to fast prior to this surgery). You should continue any medication you take unless specifically advised otherwise by the doctor. You will be asked to keep your wound dry for at least 48 hours after surgery so you may wish to wash beforehand.


What will happen when I arrive?

You attend the outpatient department and will be free to go home after the procedure has been completed. Your procedure will take approximately 30 - 60 minutes. Usually a doctor or specialist nurse and at least one assistant nurse will be present.

You may be asked to sign a consent form if you have not already done so. The doctor or specialist nurse will explain the procedure you are going to have and you will have the opportunity to ask questions. Please inform the doctor or nurse if you have any allergies to any medications, local anaesthetics, latex rubber or adhesive dressings (such as sticking plasters). You should also inform the doctor if you have a pacemaker.


What does the surgery involve?

You will lie on the couch and a nurse will help you to get comfortable.

You will not need to undress completely but may need to remove some items of clothing. The doctor or specialist nurse will use a local anaesthetic injection to numb the skin in the area of your body concerned. This may feel uncomfortable for a short time. They will test that your skin is numb before starting your surgery.

There are different types of skin surgery procedure which you may be having. These include skin biopsy (where a small sample of skin is taken), excision (where a skin lesion is cut out using a scalpel blade) or curettage (where it is scraped away).

A cautery machine may be used during your surgery to reduce bleeding. You may experience a warm feeling but this will not feel painful.

Stitches may be inserted into your wound. You will be informed when to have them removed if this is required (usually this can be done by your GP practice nurse).


What about afterwards?

A dressing will usually be applied to your wound. You will be given postoperative advice and a further information sheet. You will be told how long to keep your wound dry and when to have any stitches removed. The local anaesthetic lasts for about 2 hours.

Thereafter, painkillers such as regular Paracetamol may be required.

The skin takes time to fully heal up and you will probably need to minimize movement (particularly stretching) of the affected area as much as you can. You will be given advice about how soon you can return to normal activity.

If you are concerned about whether or not you can safely return to work afterwards please seek advice from the doctor or nurse, preferably before your appointment for surgery.


Can I drive home?

It is preferable for someone to drive you to and from the hospital if at all possible. In most cases you could probably drive, however it does depend on the type of surgery you are having and the part of the body involved. If you are unsure about this and need further advice please contact the Dermatology Department regarding this before your surgery. Please allow about half an hour extra after surgery in case you need to recuperate slightly before setting off home.


What are the possible complications?

Fortunately, most patients undergo skin surgery without experiencing significant complications.

Common minor complications include bleeding, bruising or slight discomfort afterwards and being left with a scar (unavoidable after surgery).

Occasionally wound infection occurs and can be treated with antibiotics if necessary. Very rarely, wounds can open up after surgery and need regular dressings until they heal up fully (the risk of this can be greatly reduced by avoiding strenuous exercise after the procedure).


Contact Details

If you need further advice please contact the Dermatology Secretaries or the Adviceline:

Dr Vaughan Jones / Dr Chandrakumar / Dr Nasir 01932 723720
Dr Roest / Dr O’Gorman-Lalor 01932 722748
Dr Barkham / Dr Imran / Dr Williams / Dr Gossain 01932 722234
Dr Roest / Dr Imran / Dr Chandrakumar / Dr Nasir 01784 884532
Dermatology Adviceline 01932 722298


Additional Information

If you have any queries, please contact the Dermatology Department (St. Peter’s Hospital) – Telephone: 01932 722234


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