Biopsy or Excision Wound Care

Wound Site Care

  • Keep the wound dry today and remove bandage in 24 hours.
  • Shower normally, allowing soap and water to run across the wound, but do not scrub. Antibacterial soaps such as Dial may be used daily.
  • Keep the wound moist with application of Polysporin ointment or Vaseline 1-2 times daily. (If you have itching or irritation from topical antibiotics like Polysporin, then switch to plain Vaseline.) Keeping the wound moist reduces infection, minimizes scarring, and prevents crust formation over the wound.
  • Cover the wound with clean bandage daily. If you have steri-strips (small white bandages) across the wound, leave intact. These typically fall off within a few days.
  • Avoid picking at the wound site, which increases risk of infection and scarring.
  • If the wound is near your eyes, cold compresses may be used for 20 minutes each hour to minimize pain, swelling, and bruising. Puffiness under the eyes is possible for a few days after the procedure.
  • For any wound discomfort, you may take Tylenol (or acetaminophen). Adults may take 500-1000 mg every six hours (if you are able to take Tylenol). Or use cold compresses for up to 20 minutes hourly as needed.
  • Allow several weeks for the wound to fully heal. Temporary discoloration at the wound site is normal and may take several months to fade.

If You Have Bleeding

  • Hold firm pressure for 20 minutes, without lifting the pressure to look at the wound. Repeat as needed.
  • If bleeding does not stop, apply ice compresses and call our office (or report to the nearest emergency room).

Activities to Avoid

If your wound is large or has sutures, then until sutures are removed you should:

  • Avoid contaminated water (lake, river, or ocean); use waterproof bandage in chlorinated pool.
  • If sutures are present, minimize activity that produces stress to excision site (heavy lifting or exercise that pulls at the wound, such as lunges for thigh wounds or golf for upper back wounds).

Watch for Infection

  • Slight redness, initial tenderness, and clear yellow discharge are normal.
  • Call the office if you have signs of infection, such as increased tenderness, warmth, spreading redness, swelling, or thick white-to-yellow discharge.
  • Seek urgent medical attention for severe infection, with fever, chills, nausea, or pain radiating from the wound to surrounding tissue.

Next Steps

  • If you have sutures, return for suture removal in 5-14 days, as directed by physician, but call sooner if you are concerned about your wound.
  • Pathology results will be given by telephone in 7-10 days. Sometimes results may take longer depending on if special stains or testing is needed. If you have not received results after 14 days it is important that you call our office and let us know.
  • Return to clinic if you notice any new or changing moles, or if physician recommended regular skin exams.