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Post Surgery

Minimal discomfort is expected after surgery and is usually managed by over the counter pain relief medication such as Panadol.  Significant discomfort should be reported to nursing staff.


You may experience some local swelling and bruising, which may not be at its worst until 3 – 4 days after your procedure.  Some swelling and bruising is normal and should improve 5 – 7 days after surgery.  If you have surgery on your forehead or nose, you may experience some swelling of your eyelids, at times nearly closing the eyelids.  Similarly, swelling and bruising may occur down the neck, and rarely the chest, when surgery is performed on the chin or jaw line area.  To help reduce swelling and bruising, apply an ice pack for 20 minutes each hour while awake for the first 24 - 48 hours.

Wound Care

You will be provided with post-operative wound care instructions.  Please follow the instructions and contact nursing staff should you have any questions or wound issues.


Hand Hygiene

This is important for everyone, not just hospital care workers.  This includes patients, family members, carers and visitors.   At home, the patient or whoever may be attending the patient’s dressing, should always wash their hands thoroughly before touching the dressing or wound.  When removing dressings, they should wash their hands again after disposing of the dressing materials and before attending to the wound.


When drying a wound after showering, always pat dry with a new clean tissue.  Do not use the towel you dry yourself with. 


Antibiotic prescribing

To help prevent the development of current and future bacterial resistance, it is important that antibiotic prescribing is in accordance with the current recommended best practice, such as prescribing antibiotics only when needed.


Antibiotics are not routinely prescribed after Mohs surgery or surgical excision of skin cancers as these procedures are generally considered lower risk.  Antibiotics are only prescribed routinely for those patients/procedures that are considered at higher risk.


If you would like to discuss this further, or require more information, please speak with your doctor or the Director of Nursing.


Restrictions on activities post-surgery

You will be provided with written instructions in relation to activity restrictions post-surgery.


Patients should be aware that:

  • You will have a dressing / bandages covering the wound for at least 48 hours.

  • Your activity may impact on any sutures that may be present.

  • You should limit vigorous physical activity, excessive bending over and exercise for 7 days after surgery to allow the wound to heal.

  • Strenuous activity may exacerbate bleeding so it is important to be mindful of this particularly in the first 24-48 hours after surgery.

  • You may be required to come in for dressing changes and / or suture removals following surgery. Sutures are usually removed 7 – 14 days after surgery. You will be followed through the postoperative period to assure acceptable wound healing occurs or to determine if additional procedures are necessary for improvement. In some cases, scar revision or resurfacing of the scar may be of benefit and appropriate.

Post-surgical check-ups

Post-surgical check-ups are recommended to monitor the patient's progress and spot any possible cancer recurrence in a timely manner.  Since two of five patients with one skin cancer will develop another within five years, follow up is extremely important for early detection of any new lesions.  Please check with staff about booking follow-up appointments.

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