Minor plastic surgery procedures are generally performed under local anesthetic in an office-based setting.  Common procedures include removal of skin cancers, moles, cysts, and lipomas.  We have compiled a list of 7 FAQ regarding minor plastic surgery procedures, which may be helpful for patients in preparation:

  • Can I go home alone or do I need someone to pick me up?

Minor plastic surgery procedures are performed under local anesthetic, therefore only the affected area will be frozen. Patients may present alone, but it is not recommended for some patients to walk long distances after minor procedures. Patients are generally safe to drive afterwards following procedures on the face, scalp, and upper body. Patients should arrange for a ride home if the procedure was performed on the lower extremity, groin region, or any site if a large incision.

  • Should I stop taking blood thinning medication before my appointment?

Patients may remain on their blood thinners when undergoing minor dermatologic procedures.  Stopping blood thinners before minor plastic surgery procedures may increase risk of developing more serious complications, such as blood clots, stroke, or heart attack.  Please do not discontinue the use of any medication unless directed to safely do so by your physician.

  • Can I shower after a minor plastic surgery procedure?

You should start showering and gently washing the wound the day after your procedure. Washing the incision site with running water and soap (may use liquid or bar soap) may lower the risk of wound infection.  Make sure to remove any bandages before showering.  Your bandage may also be soaked with water to aid in careful removal.  Be gentle when cleaning the incision and avoid harsh scrubbing as it may irritate the skin or disrupt the sutures.  Some patients believe that they must keep the incisions dry, but it is important to wash the wound daily.

  • What types of ointments can I apply to my wound?

Only perform a light application of Vaseline (petroleum jelly) to the incision to promote moist wound healing.  Avoid over-the-counter creams, oils, herbal ointments, hydrogen peroxide, and other topical creams as these can be harsh on the incision and may impede wound healing. Do not apply Polysporin as many patients may develop contact dermatitis following prolonged use, which may resemble a wound infection.  Following application of Vaseline, please apply a band-aid to incisions on your body to prevent debris from entering and to protect your stitches from overlying clothing.  Following procedures on the face, a band-aid is optional.

  • What types of pain medications can I use?

If required, over-the-counter medication may reduce discomfort after the local freezing wears off.  You may take Tylenol or Extra-Strength Tylenol as needed.  Please avoid taking NSAIDS (e.g. Advil, Aleve) or aspirin, which may increase risk of mild bleeding.

  • Can I exercise after undergoing minor plastic surgery?

Following a minor plastic surgery procedure, patients should generally refrain from strenuous activities, sports (includes swimming), and heavy lifting for 2-3 weeks.  Activity restrictions may lower risk of developing wound healing complications, such as wound dehiscence (wound separation), bleeding, and increased swelling.  Any physical activity that increases one’s heart rate and blood pressure (e.g. jogging, cycling, lifting weights) may increase risk of wound healing complications and potentially delay healing.  Patients may gradually advance their activity level following stitch removal, but should be cautious over the following week to protect the surgical site as healing progresses.

  • What types of reactions can I expect after my procedure?

Mild redness limited to the wound edges is a common inflammatory reaction.  If the redness extends beyond the wound edges  involving a larger region, please contact your surgeon’s office to schedule reassessment.  A small amount of drainage may be experienced, which is generally clear, yellow, or blood-tinged in color.  If drainage is thicker and malodorous, it is also important to present to rule out wound infection.  Some discomfort, soreness, and pain may be experienced, especially in certain areas where there is greater movement.  Sometimes you may notice some bruising that ranges in color with different hues of yellow, brown, or purple.  It is more common to notice bruising after facial procedures, but they may appear anywhere on the body.  Applying cold compresses during early healing may reduce bruising and swelling.  Swelling may also be reduced by elevation of the surgical site, if possible.

If you are concerned about any of the following signs or symptoms, please contact your surgeon’s office to schedule reassessment:

  • Fever
  • Increasing redness and/or drainage from the surgical site
  • Increasing pain/tenderness and warmth to the touch

 

Please contact us if you have further questions regarding your minor plastic surgery procedure or upcoming consultation with plastic surgeon, Dr. Stephanie Power.