If you're scheduled for skin cancer surgery, now's the time to start planning for the recovery period. Your doctor will give you a thorough list of post-operative instructions that you'll need to follow. Proper care of your wound will help prevent post-operative complications. Here are some steps to follow that will help your wound heal and reduce the scarring.
Avoid the Sun
While you're recovering from skin cancer surgery, you'll need to stay out of the sun as much as possible. You won't be able to apply sun screen on your wound until it's completely healed, which means the area will be unprotected for at least a few weeks. During that time, limit your exposure to the sun. Once you're able to go back into the sun, be sure to apply sunscreen whenever you'll be outside, even during the winter months.
Protect the Scar
Once your surgical site heals, there will be some scarring. However, you can reduce the amount of scarring you'll be left with by providing proper care to your wound. The most important thing you can do is keep your wound moist. While your wound is healing, be sure to keep it covered with silicone medical dressings. The silicone will help keep your wound moist, which will reduce the amount of thick post-operative scarring you're left with.
Watch for Signs of Infection
While your wounds are healing, you'll need to watch for signs of infection. With proper post-operative care, your wounds shouldn't become infected. However, they can occur, especially during those first few days after surgery when the wounds are still open and fresh. Some of the signs you should watch for include yellow or green discharge from the wound, red splotches around the wound site, or pain that becomes increasingly worse. If you notice any of those issues while your wound is healing, contact your doctor immediately.
Don't Miss Your Follow-Up Care
Your doctor will arrange for you to be seen several times during the recovery process. It's important that you not miss those appointments. Your doctor will use those appointments to monitor the healing process, and to check for signs of additional skin cancer. Once your wounds have healed, continue seeing your doctor at least once a year for follow-up care.
If you'll be having skin cancer surgery soon, use the tips provided here to ensure a safe and thorough recovery. For questions and concerns regarding the procedure, be sure to talk to your doctor.