Talking About Dermatology

Tips For Mole Removal Surgery Recovery

Moles that have changed in diameter, color or structure may be an early indication of skin cancer development. For this reason, most dermatologists recommend that you monitor your moles for any of these types of changes. If your dermatologist has suggested that you have a few moles removed, it's in your best interest to understand what the recovery process will entail. This helps you to be better prepared for the post-surgery period and identify any potential problems. Recovery from mole removal is easier than you might otherwise expect, but there are a few things you should know.

The Type of Removal Matters

The recovery you'll experience from your mole removal surgery will be directly affected by the type of surgery that your doctor chooses. If your mole removal is done with a laser, you'll have less recovery than if it's removed with a scalpel. Most traditional surgeries with a scalpel will require sutures, which can lead to more complicated recovery.

Suture Care Is Specific

When dealing with large moles that require scalpel removal, you'll likely be sent home with sutures to keep the incision site closed while it's healing. If you have traditional sutures, these are done with a thread-like material that's applied with a needle. If your doctor uses these, you'll have to apply an antibiotic to the area several times a day for a few days after surgery. This keeps the wound area moist and prevents the skin from growing completely over the sutures before your doctor can remove them.

Another suture option is liquid stitches. These are usually applied to the skin surface in a way that resembles brushing on glue. The liquid stitch material dissolves on its own within a few days of the procedure and won't typically need the same antibiotic ointment because the wound is sealed closed.

The Wound Should Be Clean And Dry

You'll have to keep the wound clean and dry by following your doctor's instructions. In addition, you'll need to keep it covered with sterile bandages. You might even be instructed to cover it with plastic to protect it from moisture when you shower. You can expect the area to be somewhat red and tender to touch for a day or so, but it should improve over time. If it appears excessively red or yellowish or becomes extremely painful to touch, you'll want to talk with your doctor, because that's a sign of infection.

Wait For The Wound To Scab And Heal

After the first week or so, your doctor will remove the sutures if you have them. You'll still have to keep the wound covered for a couple of weeks after the initial surgery, though. During this healing time, your surgical wound will heal enough to produce a scab. Leave the scab undisturbed until it separates and flakes off on its own, which will happen progressively as the wound heals. Once the scab is gone, you can remove the bandages. You may find that you have a small scar in the area where the mole was removed, and your dermatologist may provide you with a cream or lotion to apply to the area in an effort to minimize the scar's appearance. If you're concerned about the visibility of the scar, talk with the dermatologist and ask about something like this even if it isn't initially offered.

Don't delay your mole removal surgery because of an uncertainty about the recovery process. With these tips, you'll be better prepared to take care of the wounds throughout your recovery. It's easy to find yourself overwhelmed after surgery, which can cause you to forget your discharge instructions. The information here and the support of your dermatologist will help you not only eliminate potentially problematic moles but also get through the recovery process with ease and confidence. For more information, contact a local skin clinic like Northwest Dermatology