What To Expect After Removal Of A Skin Tumor
How can I expect this area to look while it is healing?
Often, there will be a red, puffy area around the crust for a week or so and many times, as the crust begins to separate from the underlying skin, tissue fluid may leak out from where the crust meets the skin. Both of these events are normal and do not indicate infection. However, if you see yellow creamy pus or if there is a foul odor, please call your dermatologist at once.
Around the eyes expect some puffiness of the loose tissue for a few mornings. Cold compresses take this puffiness down quickly. Where there is little room for swelling, as on the fingertips, you may expect some accompanying pain. This can be eased by applying a soaking-wet wash cloth covered by a folded-over heating pad kept in place for about an hour.
How long will it take to heal?
Depending upon the depth and extent of the treatment area, anywhere from 2-5 weeks. Please do not use any home remedies to help healing.
How much scarring will I have?
With rare exceptions any scar at the treatment site will improve progressively in appearance with time and you eventually may expect to have a scar which is relatively inconspicuous. Raised scars may occur on the chest, upper back and arms as well as other places, especially if there is a personal or family history of keloids. Scars on the lower legs take longer to heal and may be purple in appearance.
Is there anything else I should know?
Unless instructed otherwise by your dermatologist, feel free to engage in all of your usual activities. You may have your hair cut, styled, shampooed, and even have a permanent as long as the solution does not touch the affected area (covering the area with Vaseline or Newskin will help create a barrier). Hair tints and rinses are harmless. For areas on the face, men should shave around the site until the healing has progressed far enough to shave over the area.
If the area has a skin cancer, it is essential that the scar (and the remaining sun exposed skin) be protected with an appropriate sunscreen. A screen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 is recommended. While the area is covered by a crust, sunscreen is not required, but please start to use sunscreen immediately after the crust comes off. This should be applied at least an hour before sunlight exposure, giving the screen a good chance to absorb into the skin where it is less likely to be washed off through perspiration. If you have a history of precancerous or cancerous areas remember that careful use of a sunprotective agent should become a regular practice for the rest of your life.