Aftercare - Skin Lesion Surgery

Aftercare - Skin Lesion Surgery

Skin Lesion Surgery

Follow these instructions until your post-operative appointment with Dr Sian Fairbank approximately one week after surgery. Please do not remove or change the dressing applied in surgery as this may delay wound healing.

The wound should be managed as directed to reduce the chance of serious problems and a longer time out of action, or even readmission to hospital.


The face, scalp and neck have an excellent blood supply and surgery can result in rapid swelling, which is maximal at around two days, followed by quick resolution and fast healing compared with other area.

Swelling is reduced by sleeping on at least two pillows for 3-5 days.

Special areas:
Surgery above or around the eyelid can interfere with vision, in which case it is important not to drive post-operatively.

Surgery on the lip results in numbness for the first 4-6 hours, during which it is important to avoid very hot or very cold foods. It is best to rest the area after surgery; this is assisted by avoiding excessive talking or laughing and changing to a soft diet for 4-5 days.

Upper limb

The upper limb region takes twice as long to heal compared with the head and neck, and should be protected for 10-14 days.

A sling should be used post-operatively. At night, a pillow can be used to raise the level of the surgery site. It is important not to drive after hand surgery, since your control of the wheel will be unsafe. In addition, your motor insurer may invalidate your insurance, with potential serious financial consequences.

Lower limb

The lower limb takes twice as long to heal as the upper limb, and should be protected for 3-6 weeks, depending on the surgery complexity.

The lower limb, especially the foot, will take the longest time to heal. This is because it is the furthest distance from the heart compared with other parts of the body, and, as a consequence, the blood supply is relatively poor and swelling is greatest in this location. Infection and delayed healing can be quite common in this location.

Rest and elevation, such as on a pillow on the bed, or on a stool is very important and will prevent delayed healing and reduce the risk of infection.

What should I do in the following instances?

After surgery, a small amount of bleeding is normal, and can be more prominent if you are taking certain medications. Bleeding that comes through the dressing should be managed with elevation above the heart in addition to applying firm, constant pressure for 10 minutes measured by the clock (don't constantly take the pressure off to check!). A towel is useful to use to press on the dressing. If bleeding still occurs, further pressure for 15 minutes should be measured by the clock. If the problem continues you should contact the surgeon on 03 9052 6864 or 0417 537 738 after hours, and if you cannot contact us for any reason you should attend your closest emergency department. It is important to remain calm, since a high blood pressure can make bleeding harder to stop, and remember that a very small amount of blood goes a long way so what looks like a large amount of blood is actually usually minimal.

Infection before 4 days is rare. It should be suspected if pain or redness are increasing after two days. Please contact your surgeon if you suspect an infection.


Australian & New Zealand Burn Association
Australian Medical Association
Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons
Fellow of the Royal Australiasian College of Surgeons


The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne
Monash Health