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Discharge advice after a local anaesthetic procedure

This page gives discharge advice to help you after the removal of a lesion(s) under local anaesthetic.

Suture line care (stitches)

You can have a shower the day after the procedure, unless you are told otherwise. Leave the Mefix (white tape covering the wound) on for two to seven days. Ask your doctor or nurse how long is best for your wound. You may get this dressing wet as it will dry naturally.

If you have a bandage or dressing over the Mefix tape and it gets wet or falls off, ask your doctor or nurse what you should do.

For stitches near your eye

If possible, do not wear your glasses if they rub or irritate the stitches.

If your eye becomes sticky, clean it two to three times a day with fresh salt-water solution.

If ointment has been prescribed, apply this as directed.

For stitches on your back or shoulder

Avoid activities that will put undue strain on the area, such as heavy lifting, lifting children or wood cutting. Keep the area taped and replace the tape if it comes off.

For stitches on your legs

Rest your leg as much as possible during the first two to five days. When sitting, put your leg up on a sofa or on a stool.

Protecting the anaesthetised area

Usually the effects of local anaesthetic will wear off within four to six hours. The local anaesthetic blocks the nerves, which normally act to protect your body from injury, so be very careful not to burn the anaesthetised area, for example when you are drinking a hot drink.

Swelling

Some swelling of your wound is expected. If your wound appears to be abnormally swollen, the swelling is increasing or causing problems, seek medical advice.

Bleeding

If bleeding comes from your wound or operation site, apply direct hand pressure using a clean cloth on the area for five minutes. If this bleeding persists or appears to increase, seek medical advice.

Pain

When the local anaesthetic wears off you may need some pain relief. You can use the tablets that may have been prescribed for you, or you can take paracetamol (Panadol). Follow the instructions on the packet and take the tablets with food.

If you have any allergies, check your medication is not one of them.

Avoid aspirin or Disprin as this can cause bleeding problems in some patients.

Infection

If your wound appears swollen, red and painful and your procedure was done at the Christchurch Hospital's Plastic Surgery Outpatient Department, contact Christchurch Hospital's Plastic Surgery Outpatient Department: Ph (03) 364‑0471. If your procedure was done by the Dermatology Department or your GP, then contact your GP or an after-hours GP

No fever is expected. If you consider your temperature is high, (above 38°C) or you feel hot and unwell, seek medical advice.

Wound healing

All wounds progress through several stages of healing. Many people experience:

Remember not to pull off any scabs, as they protect the new tissues underneath and act as nature's dressing. They will fall off without any help when ready.

All wounds are a little stiff and sore and this should ease in a few days.

Important!

Seek help if the amount of pain, redness, or swelling increases; the line of stitches breaks open; or if there is any offensive discharge from your wound.

Once the wound has healed

Gently massage a lanolin-based or vitamin E cream into the healed area to keep it soft and supple. Protect the healed area from the sun.

Staff will give you advice about your specific care and follow-up dates. It may help to print this page and fill in the dates in the box, then keep the page as a reminder.

Follow up

Date

Removal of sutures at GP

 

Dressing at GP

 

Attend Plastic Surgery Outpatient Department, Christchurch Hospital: Ph (03) 364‑0471 (an appointment will be posted to you)

 

On the next page: Risks and complications of skin surgery

Written by Plastic Surgery Clinic, Canterbury DHB. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers, April 2014.

Sources

Images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Suturing by arztsamui; paracetamol by Darren Robertson

Page reference: 88081

Review key: HIEXS-87512