Skin Surgery is needed for many dermatology problems. Over a thousand operations are done each year in our department. We use an injection of local anaesthetic to numb the skin beforehand. This is very effective. Small pieces of skin (biopsies) are taken off to analyse in the path lab to help reach a diagnosis. Growths or moles which might be cancerous are removed to be analysed.
See and Treat Clinics
Some of the surgery is done on planned operating lists but the department does some smaller operations on a “see and treat” basis. This is a special “one-stop” clinic where the consultation and operation is done in one visit. The demand for this is difficult to predict so immediate surgery may not be possible, particularly for longer operations. This is a popular option though for people who travel a long way. The dermatology department has offered this service since 1995.
Hygeine and Safety
All procedures are done to the highest standards of hygeine using sterile equipment and gloves and rigorous hand washing by all involved staff. This is to reduce the risk of any infection. People having operations in dermatology lasting for an hour or more have swabs done before surgery to check there is no sign of the MRSA bacteria which can cause trouble, infecting wounds. Even so various bacteria can occassionally cause trouble so if the wound is red or sore a few days after surgery, then it is a good idea to let a doctor or nurse check the area to make sure no antibiotics are needed.
All surgery results in a scar, however our staff will try to make this as insignificant as possible. Because suspected skin cancers have to be taken out with an area of clear skin around the growth, the scar is usually longer than many people would first expect. This will be explained beforehand. We do our best to make the scar look good but it is not possible to make guarantees as everbody heals differently. Some people get lumpy, itchy scars called keloid scars.
Occasionally there is some mild bleeding a few hours later but this rarely causes any problem and can be controlled by steady pressure for five minutes.