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Follow up appointments
Usually one return visit is all that is needed to examine the healed surgical site or to remove your surgical dressings. Afterwards, you may return to your referring physician for routine check-ups. Lifetime annual check ups are considered essential. After having one skin cancer, statistics show that you have a higher chance of developing a second skin cancer. You should have your skin checked by your referring dermatologist at least once a year for four years not only to examine the treated skin cancer, but also to check for new skin cancers.
The best protection from skin cancer is to avoid the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Even if you tan easily, the sun can contribute to skin cancer in two ways. First, the sunlight damages the genes that control cell growth, and second, sunlight damages the body’s immune system so that early cancers grow unchecked by normal immune defense. Minimize exposure by:
- Using any sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 and preferably with UVA/UVB protection when you spend any time in the sun. The most effective sunscreens have special stabilizers. These include Neutrogena with Helioplex, and those with Mexoral.
- Avoid sun exposure during mid-day hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
- Do not stay outdoors unprotected on cloudy days since the ultraviolet light penetrates easily through the clouds.
If you follow this advice it may not be necessary to restrict your outdoor activities or change your lifestyle.
Swelling is normal after surgery. Most swelling will go away in two weeks. On wounds near the eyes, the swelling can come and go for a couple of months. Any surgery done on the forehead can also cause swelling under and around the eyes. The eyes can often swell completely shut. THIS IS NORMAL. When surgery is performed on or around the lips, this can also cause an exaggerated amount of swelling as well.
Yes, when doing surgery on a lower leg swelling is very common. This can last for weeks. You should elevate your leg as often as you can.
If you have a wound on the head/face you should elevate your head at night for 72 hours.