Patients and Visitors
The aim of this surgery is to remove an area of healthy tissue from around the site of the melanoma and therefore minimise the risk of the cancer returning to that area. You will already have a scar from where you had your mole/lesion removed, and as we need to take away more skin you will end up with a slightly longer scar. The wound itself will be closed with stitches and tape over the top to reinforce the wound. The stitches (if they are not dissolvable) will need to be removed 7 to 14 days after surgery.
In some cases there will not be enough skin to close the wound directly, in which case you may need to have a skin graft, but your doctor will discuss this with you beforehand.
Following your procedure your doctor will advise you on care of the wound.
Possible post operative problems
Pain: You may experience some mild discomfort following surgery. This can easily be controlled with mild pain killers such as Paracetamol.
Bruising and haematoma: You may experience some bruising. This will gradually disappear, but occasionally blood collects within the tissues surrounding the wound causing swelling, discomfort and hardness. This is called a haematoma. Although the blood will eventually be reabsorbed by the body, this can take a few weeks. If the haematoma causes you a lot of discomfort, you should contact:
Infection: If your wound becomes red, inflamed, more painful or begins to ooze you may need a course of antibiotics, so you will need to contact:
Movement: Depending on where your wound is you may need to be careful when moving/lifting but you will be told this before you leave hospital.
You will need to have a wound check following surgery. This is to check that there are no problems and that your wound is healing well. This may be done at your GP surgery by the practice nurse (you will need to make an appointment). Following this you may need to come back to the hospital outpatient department for follow-up.