3 Things To Avoid When You Have A Fresh Skin Graft After Skin Cancer Surgery

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If you recently had surgery to remove an area affected by skin cancer, the doctor may have replaced the removed tissue with a skin graft. If so, remember to avoid doing the following while the graft is still fresh.

Do Not Remove The Surgical Bandage Prematurely

After you are sent home from the hospital, the skin graft will be covered by the surgical bandage. This initial bandage helps protect the graft site during the first day after the surgery, keeping germs and other contaminants away from it. Make sure you do not remove this covering prematurely. Instead, wait until the time recommended by your doctor. 

While you have this bandage, you may see some fluid or blood seeping through the gauze. A small amount is normal. If the gauze becomes wet, still refrain from replacing it. Simply tape a fresh gauze pad over the bandage to keep the fluids from staining your clothes or sheets.

If the gauze becomes saturated with fluids and seems to be draining more than it should, contact the surgeon right away. They can guide you as to what action you should take.

Do Not Get The Graft Wet

Within the first few months or the time frame recommended by your doctor, do not get the skin graft wet. The suture line of the graft takes a while to fully heal and will be vulnerable to bacteria and infection. Water contains microorganisms that could invade the graft, causing a serious problem.

Also, some of the sutures around the graft may dissolve if they come into contact with water. If this happens, the edges may come open, necessitating another surgery to close them.

Do Not Let The Skin Graft Dry Out

While you do not want to get the graft wet, you also do not want to let it dry out either. Keeping the skin moisturized prevents shriveling of the graft. If you let it dry out, the graft may start shrinking, pulling the edges away from the skin.

If they already have not recommended one, ask your doctor which non-medicated lotion you should use. It should not contain any perfumes or other additives. Use the lotion several times a day to keep the graft moist and supple.

Avoiding the scenarios above can help you keep your skin graft intact and clean. If you have any further questions or are concerned about your graft, contact a center like Countryside Dermatology & Laser Center.