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Instructions After an Excision

This information will help you care for your excision site at home.

An excision (removal) is done to remove a suspicious area of skin or tissue. Your excision site will be closed with stitches.

Caring for Your Excision Site

You can  remove your bandage _____ hours after your procedure. You may see bloodstains on the bandage; this is normal.

Your excision site may be covered with Steri-Strips® (thin strips of paper tape) or Dermabond® (surgical glue).

  • If your excision site is covered with Steri-Strips®, leave them on until they fall off on their own. If the strips have not come off after 10 days, you may gently remove them.
  • If your excision site is covered with Dermabond®, do not remove the glue. The Dermabond® will peel off on its own.

You may notice slight oozing from your excision site a few hours after you procedure. This is common and not a serious problem. Apply gentle pressure on the site for 5 minutes and change the dressing if it is soaked.

You may notice that your excision site is:

  • Red
  • Tender
  • Black
  • Bruised

This is normal and will improve over time.

Unless told otherwise by your doctor, do not:

  • Put any creams, ointments, or lotions on your excision site.
  • Cover your excision site with a dressing or a bandage, unless your clothes irritate it.
  • Apply hot or cold packs to your excision site

Stitches

Some stitches do not need to be removed because your body will absorb them. Stitches that cannot be absorbed by your body will be removed by your doctor after your site has healed. Your nurse will let you know which type of stitches you have.

Pain

You may have pain after your procedure. To treat your discomfort, you may take over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®).

If you are given pain medication, take it as instructed by your doctor.

Activities

You can resume most activities right after your procedure, but below are some exceptions.

  • Do not lift objects heavier than 5 pounds until your doctor says it is safe.
  • Do not bend at the waist.
  • Your doctors and nurses will give you instructions on what exercises and movements you can do while your excision site is healing. Check with your doctor or nurse before starting any gym activity, such as running, jogging, or lifting weights.

Sleeping

If your excision site is above your neck, sleep with the head of your bed raised 45 degrees for the first 10 days following your procedure.

Showering

You can shower right after your procedure. Clean your excision site with soap and water and pat it dry with a clean towel. It is ok to let the shower water run over the excision site. You do not need to put another bandage on your excision site after you shower. Do not let your incision soak in water.

Follow-up Care

Call your doctor's office for a follow-up appointment ____ days after your procedure.

Call Your Doctor or Nurse if You Have:

  • A large area of redness or swelling around your excision site
  • Increased discomfort around you excision site
  • Skin around your excision site that feels hot to the touch
  • Yellowish drainage from your excision site
  • A temperature higher than 100.4° F (38° C)