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  • Dr. Mike Purdon

Caring for your stitches

After the removal of a skin lesion or a mole, you will need to take care of the incision as it heals. Doing so may limit scarring, may help you avoid pain or discomfort, and may help lower the risk of problems like infection.

Tips for reducing the risk of infection or complication


• Keep the area dry for 12-24 hours after the procedure.

• Apply petroleum jelly (eg. Vaseline) to moisten the wound daily.

• Shower, allowing warm water and soap to run over the wound after 24 hours.

• Look at the incision every day, checking for signs of infection.

• Change the dressing daily or as your doctor recommended at the time of the procedure.

• Minimize activities that put strain on the wound

Do not:

• Scrub or rub incisions.

• Remove the tape strips (such as Steri-Strips) if these were used, from incisions.

• Use lotion or powder on incisions.

• Expose incisions to sunlight. Healing scars are very sensitive and burn easily.

The following changes in the wound can be normal:

• Some soreness and tenderness

• Tingling, numbness, and itching around the incision.

• There may also be mild oozing and bruising, and a small lump may form.

The following changes are not normal and you should call us or seek medical care immediately:

• A yellow or green discharge that is increasing.

• A change in the odor of the discharge.

• A change in the size of the incision.

• Redness or hardening of the surrounding area.

• The incision is hot to the touch.

• Fever.

• Increasing or unusual pain.

When you should book an appointment at the clinic for removal of your stitches:

Face 3 to 5 days

Scalp 7 to 10 days

Arms 7 to 10 days

Trunk 10 to 14 days

Legs 10 to 14 days

Hands or feet 10 to 14 days

Palms or soles 14 to 21 days

Your stitches may be removed by the doctor who did your procedure or by one of our MOA’s or nurses.

For more information on caring for wounds closed by stitches and staples, have a look at this article on Healthlink BC or this article from the American Academy of Dermatology.

If you have any questions or concerns about caring for your wound please call us at 250 860 5888

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