Postoperative Instructions- Face

Skin Cancer

Postoperative Anesthesia

After anesthesia, you may feel nauseated and may even experience vomiting for the first 24 hours. You may take anti-nausea medication if prescribed to alleviate your symptoms. If your vomiting persists despite medication, please contact us immediately. You should feel much better by the next day. If you are still suffering nausea and vomiting after the first 2 days, please let us know. If you were sedated or underwent general anesthesia, do not drive or operate any machinery as you may injure yourself or others. Sometimes, the narcotic pain medications you are taking may also cause some upset stomach and/or nausea. Try taking these medications with food, or abstain from taking them if they cause undue nausea and vomiting. It is also natural for you to feel a bit of fatigue for the first 2 to 3 days after surgery as your body recovers from the combined effects of surgery and anesthesia.

Items needed for post-operative care: Hydrogen Peroxide, Polysporin Ointment, Q-tips, Ice Pack

Showering and Water Exposure

Dr Bray Jr. will give instructions on showering. Usually patients may shower the day after the surgery.

Wound Care

1. The incision may be covered with steri-strips. In this case, the steri-strips should remain in place until Dr. Bray Jr. removes them. After the steri-strip is removed or if the incision is not covered the incision should be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide twice a day. After cleaning with hydrogen peroxide, polysporin (generic- double anti-biotic ointment) should be applied to the incision line. If you develop a red, itchy, blistery area after you apply the antibiotic ointment, stop applying the ointment as a small percentage of patients may develop an allergic reaction to it. Also you may refrain from applying any ointment at night so as not to soil your bed sheets. Try to use a q-tip instead of your fingers when applying ointment, because your fingers may be dirty and cause an infection in your suture line.

2. The sutures will usually be removed one week after surgery. Dr. Bray Jr. will arrange a time for suture removal with you.

3. If the wound was closed with a local flap icing should not be performed over the flap. This may impair the blood supply to the flap. Dr. Bray Jr. will discuss the use of ice to reduce swelling as it may differ for each case.

4. Avoid any hot packs as you may burn yourself unknowingly. After your surgery, your wound area will be numb for several weeks, and you may burn yourself if you apply too hot an object near or on your operated skin.

5. Avoid any excessive rubbing or scratching of the wound area as this may disrupt the suture line or cause darkening of your skin. If you should have severe itchiness or redness around the wound area, contact us immediately so that we may prescribe a medication to alleviate your symptoms.


Please take them as directed. It is recommended that you take your antibiotics with food to minimize any chance of an upset stomach. If you are nauseated, please wait until the nausea has subsided before resuming your antibiotics. If you develop diarrhea, please stop taking your antibiotics. If your diarrhea should persist, please contact us regarding this matter. If you should develop a fever (> 100.5) after the first 2 days, please let us know as well.

Pain Management

If you have significant pain after surgery, please take the prescribed pain medication. Please be sure to take your pain medication not more frequently than prescribed. Also, as this medication is a narcotic, you are advised against driving or operating any machinery while taking your pain medication. Further, you should not partake of any alcohol when using narcotic pain medications. If you have only mild pain, you may take plain Tylenol to alleviate your symptoms. However, if you take plain Tylenol you should wait four hours before resuming your other pain medications as they frequently already have Tylenol in them, and you do not want to overdose on Tylenol. You should also avoid taking any other pain medications, especially aspirin or aspirin-related products (See the Preoperative Instruction Sheet for a partial list of aspirin and aspirin-related medications). If you develop any unexplained pain, you should report this to us immediately.

Bruising and Swelling

It is normal that you have moderate bruising and swelling after surgery for the first 2 weeks. You will notice every day that the bruising and swelling are diminishing. However, if you develop any new-onset swelling, especially in the first 2 to 3 days, please let us know immediately.