Caring for Your Wound after Your Skin Procedure Without Sutures

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This information explains how to care for your wound after your skin procedure without sutures (stitches).

You had a procedure to remove or test a suspicious area of skin or tissue. Caring for your wound after your procedure is important to help prevent infection and help you heal with little pain or discomfort.

Caring for Your Wound at Home

  • Leave the bandage on your wound for __________ hours after your procedure. Keep it clean and dry.
  • If your doctor or nurse told you to apply ice, you can apply an ice pack to your wound _________times a day for 10 to 15 minutes. You can do this during the first 24 to 48 hours after your procedure. This will help reduce bleeding, pain, and swelling.
  • You can shower __________ hours after your procedure.
    • Don’t allow the shower stream to run directly over your wound.
    • Pat your wound dry with a clean gauze pad or clean dry wash cloth.
    • Don’t take a bath, go swimming, or go into a hot tub until your wound is healed.

Cleaning your wound

Clean your wound every day. Do this for _____ days/weeks after your procedure, or until your follow-up appointment. Follow the instructions below when you clean your wound.

 

Supplies

  • Cotton swabs (Q-tips®)
  • Nonstick gauze pads
  • ______________________________ solution
  • ______________________________ ointment
  • Adhesive bandage (Band-aid®) cut to fit the wound size
  • Paper tape
  • Clean gauze pad or clean dry wash cloth

Instructions

  1. Gather your supplies.
  2. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 15 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  3. Clean your wound with ______________________________solution.
  4. Gently pat your wound dry with a clean gauze pad or clean dry wash cloth. Don’t rub the area.
  5. Use cotton swabs to put ______________________________ ointment on your wound.
  6. Cover your wound with nonstick gauze or an adhesive bandage cut to the size of your wound. If you use nonstick gauze, keep it in place with paper tape.
  7. Wash your hands with warm water and soap or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Follow these instructions for __________ days/weeks or until your wound is healed.

Additional instructions:




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Managing Pain

  • You may have pain or discomfort after your procedure. To relieve your pain or discomfort, take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or extra strength acetaminophen (Extra Strength Tylenol®).
  • Follow the dose directions on the package. If this dose doesn’t relieve your pain, call your doctor’s office.
  • If you’re allergic to acetaminophen or if you can’t take it due to a medical condition, ask your healthcare provider what you can take instead.
  • If you’re in a cancer treatment clinical trial, please contact your oncologist (cancer doctor) about what pain medications you can take.
  • Don’t take aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil®) or naproxen (Aleve®). These medications make it harder for your blood to clot, which may increase bleeding.
  • You can also hold an ice pack over your wound to reduce pain, swelling, and bruising. Place an ice pack on your wound for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed by your healthcare provider.
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Bleeding and Bruising

  • You may have swelling and bruising. This usually goes away over several days.
  • If you have any bleeding, press firmly on your wound with a clean gauze pad for 15 minutes. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, repeat this step. If the bleeding still hasn’t stopped after repeating this step, call your doctor’s office.
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Activities

  • Don’t let your wound be underwater (such as in a swimming pool, bathtub, or hot tub) for ______ days/weeks.
 
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Healing Process

  • After several days, a scab may form on your wound. If a scab forms, don’t remove it. It will fall off on its own.
  • You may notice a thin, pale yellow film on your wound. It may also have a narrow border (less than ¼ of an inch) of pink around it. This is normal.
  • You may have discoloration (pinkness or redness) at the site of your wound for up to 1 year after your procedure. Some people may have it for even longer.
  • Once your wound has healed, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to the area to protect it from sun exposure
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Call Your Doctor or Nurse if You Have:

  • A temperature of 100.4° F (38 ° C) or higher
  • Chills
  • Any of the following symptoms at your wound or the area around it:
    • Increasing redness or swelling, such as a pink border wider than ¼ of an inch
    • Increasing pain or discomfort
    • Skin that’s hard, warm or hot to the touch
    • Bright yellow or green drainage
    • Foul odor
    • Rash
    • Blistering
    • Drainage that goes through your bandage
    • Bleeding that doesn’t stop after applying pressure
  • Any questions or unexpected problems
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