Dermatologic surgery is the treatment of medically necessary and cosmetic skin, nail, and hair conditions by various surgical methods.
Dermatologists at Southface Dermatology are trained in advanced dermatologic surgery procedures.
What is dermatological surgery used for?
Surgery is essential for the removal of skin cancers and suspected skin cancers.
Mohs micrographic surgery is used to remove some facial skin cancers, especially if their margins are unclear or they are recurrent lesions.
Surgery is also used to remove benign growths that are causing a nuisance or are unsightly, such as moles, tags and seborrhoeic warts.
How is skin surgery carried out?
Dermatological surgery is undertaken under local anaesthetic This means that you will be given a small injection directly into the area of skin where you will be operated on. This initially may cause some localised discomfort but will make the area numb and the procedure will then be painless.
Can there be any complications or risks?
All procedures do come with an element of risk. These risks are usually small, but it is important you are aware of them.
- Pain or discomfort – You may experience some pain when the local anaesthetic is being injected, and once this wears off, the area may feel sore.
- Bleeding, Bruising or Infection – Any wound is at risk from bleeding, bruising, infection or breakdown after surgery. After your procedure you will be given a leaflet which explains how to avoid these complications. If you follow the wound care instructions following your surgery, these problems are uncommon.
- Scaring – Depending on the procedure, you may be left with a scar. Sometimes a keloid scar develops (this is a raised, lumpy, hard or rubbery scar). If this is a concern, the doctor can discuss this with you in more detail.
- Further Surgery – Some conditions may require further surgery at a later date, depending on what is found. In addition, some conditions do have the risk of recurring in the future. If you are worried, your doctor can discuss this, if it is relevant to your condition.
- Nerve damage – In very rare cases, or at high risk sites, there may be a very small risk of nerve damage to the nerves running in the area to be operated on. Again, this is not relevant to all procedures, and can be discussed in further detail with your doctor
How do I prepare for the dermatological surgery?
We advise that you bring someone with you when you attend for surgery.
- You should have had a good breakfast or lunch before your operation.
- If you are taking ANTICOAGULANTS, please inform us in good time as we sometimes advise to stop taking this 24 hours prior to your planned surgery.
- If you take WARFARIN, please discuss this in advance with your doctor, as you will need an INR blood check prior to the procedure.
- IF YOU ARE UNSURE IF YOU ARE TAKING ANY BLOOD THINNING MEDICATION PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR PRIOR TO YOUR APPOINTMENT.
- Please inform the theatre nurse, before your surgery, if you have previously experienced any adverse events to any procedures, including fainting episodes.
What will happen?
The procedure will be undertaken in one of the operating rooms, please arrive 10 minutes prior to the procedure.
Gaining your consent
A theatre nurse will take you to the theatre when ready. A doctor will discuss the procedure with you and answer any further. questions you may have and will gain written consent from you to carry out the procedure. You will have discussed the procedure prior to the surgery at your clinic appointment.
After the procedure
Wound care instructions will be given to you after your procedure. Once the procedure is finished you will be asked to stay in the department for 20 minutes to ensure you have recovered from the procedure. You are also advised to refrain from driving until the following day.
What happens afterwards?
The recovery period is 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Please be aware that in the days following the procedure you may need to arrange to take a few days off work and/or ask someone to help you at home if necessary. You should not be performing any strenuous activities (this includes lifting, exercise and housework). It is important that you should not get the wound wet for 48 hours following the procedure, so please ensure your skin is clean before attending.