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Auckland DHB Dermatology Service

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Wound Care Following a Dermatology Procedure using Local Anaesthetic

It is important to follow the instructions the nurse has discussed with you and read the written information for wound care following skin surgery using local anaesthetic. If you have been instructed to leave all dressing in place, then DO NOT remove any dressings and do not get the dressings wet. You will not be able to bath or shower during this time.

Bathing / Showering: Generally, after most skin procedures, you will be going home with a dressing covering the wound in two layers. Adhesive strips (Steri-strips) have been placed on the wound and a pressure dressing as the second layer. Leave all the dressings in place for 48 hours.  Do not get the dressing wet during this time. If the nurses have recommended you remove the dressing after 48 hours, carefully remove the second dressing layer. The Steri-strips should stay in place, but sometimes they lift off the skin. This is not a concern.  Remove the Steri-strips if they are moist or coated in dry blood. You may now shower or bath as usual. Pat the wound dry with a clean towel. Replace the Steri-strips if necessary after showering as instructed. They cover the stitches and act like a dressing, so you do not need to apply anything else. 

Keep a bandage on leg wounds and change the dressing if it gets wet. Wounds which are constantly wet tend to become easily infected. Swimming is not permitted.

Pain Relief: Local anaesthetic wears off in 2-3 hours. Paracetamol (Panadol) or Panadeine should be suitable for any discomfort. Take 2 tablets at breakfast, lunch, dinner and before bed.  Do not take more than 8 tablets in a 24-hour period. Please seek advice from your dermatologist or GP before taking other pain medications, as some may increase the likelihood of bleeding. If you have stopped Aspirin or Warfarin, restart on your doctor's instructions,

General Care Instructions: Bruising may occur around the procedure site. Avoid excessive movement or exercise, which will put a strain on the wound. For hand or lower arm surgery keep the area elevated as much as possible. Use the sling if provided. For surgery on the face, keep your head elevated. Avoid bending down or lifting. Sleep with your head elevated on 1 or 2 extra pillows for 48 hours. If your surgery is on the lower leg, it is very important to minimise activity for AT LEAST one week. Activity should be limited to around the house and keep the leg elevated above hip level when sitting. No excessive walking or exercise. Avoid bending and stretching after a lesion is removed from the back.

Smoking and Alcohol: Both of these can increase complications after a procedure. Avoid or reduce smoking and drinking alcohol for 10 days after a procedure.

If there is any sign of wound infection, for example redness, swelling, discomfort not relieved by regular Panadol or Panadeine, pusy discharge or any other unexpected circumstances, please contact the Dermatology Department at Greenlane Clinical Centre or your GP.

If the wound has been stitched the nurse will have informed you to either return to the department or your GP to have the stitches removed.

This page was last updated at 12:52PM on March 31, 2021.