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HealthInfo Canterbury

Discharge advice after a local anaesthetic procedure

This page has advice to help you after you've had a lesion removed under local anaesthetic.

Care of stitches

Unless you're told otherwise, you can have a shower the day after the procedure. 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. It's OK to 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, don't wear your glasses if they rub or irritate your stitches.

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

To make salt-water solution, add one teaspoon of salt to one cup of boiled water. Allow the solution to cool before using it. Make up a new solution each day. Use clean cotton wool to clean your eye.

If you've been prescribed an ointment, apply it 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 stool.

Protecting the anaesthetised area

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


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


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 increases, seek medical advice.


When the local anaesthetic wears off, you may need some pain relief. If you've been prescribed pain relief, use it. Otherwise, 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 isn't something you're allergic to.

Avoid aspirin (Disprin) as this can cause bleeding problems in some people.


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

You shouldn't get a fever. If your temperature is 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:

Don't pull off any scabs, as they protect the new tissues underneath and act as nature's dressing. They'll fall off without any help when ready.

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


Seek help if the amount of pain, redness, or swelling increases, the line of stitches breaks open, or if there's 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.

You'll have been given 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


Removal of sutures at GP


Dressing at GP


Attend Plastic Surgery Outpatient Department, Christchurch Hospital: Phone (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, Last reviewed August 2018.


Images from Suturing by arztsamui; paracetamol by Darren Robertson

Page reference: 88081

Review key: HISKW-128569