Skin Cancer Surgery Facts
If you have skin cancer and are scheduled to have a procedure for skin cancer surgery with subsequent reconstruction, there are several things that you should probably know:
1) You will have a dressing over your incision which may include white steri-strips placed on top of the sutures, and directly on the skin. You should do your best to keep these dry. If they do get wet, it is best to allow them to air dry. Should they become soiled and require replacement, simply call our office and come in and Dr. Brenner and his team can change the tapes.
2) You may have a tegaderm dressing placed over your sutures. This is a clear plastic rectangular tape, with a white non-stick gauze center. These are generally water resistant. However, if they get very wet or soiled on the inside, these may be removed.
3) If all of your dressings come off, you may simply want to clean the suture line. This should not be done during the first 24 hours after your procedure. Beyond 24 hours, you may gently use a cotton-tipped swab and clean the suture line with warm water and soap. If you have saline solution, this may also be used. Do not clean your sutures with hydrogen peroxide. When used repeatedly, hydrogen peroxide may actually keep your incision from healing.
4) Sutures are removed at certain times based on the type of suture and the location of the sutures. Most sutures that are placed on the face during skin cancer surgery should be removed by about 5-7 days following your procedure. This may vary slightly depending on how you are healing. However, some sutures will leave permanent marks in the skin if left in for too long. Sutures on the torso and extremities, are generally left in longer.
5) Some patients ask about wearing concealer or make-up following surgery. This should not usually be started until after the sutures are all removed, and it is clear that the skin repair is healing properly.