Wound Care after Skin Biopsy/ Mole Removal/Surgery

Minnesota dermatologist Dr. Tareen advises petrolatum after skin biopsy

Dr. Tareen advises petrolatum wound care after skin biopsy

Several large studies have shown that white petrolatum (vaseline) is the preferred wound care agent after skin procedures. In fact, petrolatum has been shown to increase the rate of skin growth (scientifically referred to ‘re-epithelialization’) and reduce scarring!  Many patients are concerned that they may get a wound infection if just using vaseline.  Again, studies have shown that gentle daily soap/water cleansing + vaseline is MORE effective against wound infections compared to a topical antibiotic such as neosporin or bacitracin. Patients treated with neosporin and bacitracin actually had a higher rate of allergic contact dermatitis that inhibited wound healing. Thus, in the majority of cases, we will suggest vaseline for your wound site.

Occasionally, some wounds may be at higher risk of infection, in that scenario Dr. Tareen and her colleagues may recommend a topical antibiotic know as mupirocin (bactroban) as this has a low rate of contact allergy and is effective against staph bacteria (the most common bacteria that inhabits the skin).

Wound Care Steps after Skin Biopsy

1. Wash the area once or twice daily with a gentle soap. Please do not scrub or pick at the site

2. Three to five times a day apply white petrolatum (vaseline or Aquaphor) to the area. You do not want a scab to form. In general, depending on the area, it is best to keep it covered.  For patients who do not want to keep the area bandaged (ie facial sites), it is even more important to keep a coating of ointment over the site. The area will become more red for several days after the procedure. If the redness extends more than 1 cm from the incision site, there is draining pus, a fever or significant pain, please give the office a call at 651-633-6883.

3. If a stitch is placed, we will have you come in for stitch removal in 1- 2 weeks after the procedure. If a dissolvable stitch was placed, this takes 2- 4 weeks to dissolve.

4. We will call you within 7- 10 days to give you pathology results. If you have not heard from us in 10 business days, please give the office a call.  Please do not assume that no news is good news.  We at Tareen Dermatology will always attempt to call you to give you the biopsy result.  If you do not here from us, we are happy to hear from you! The direct phone extension of our head nurse is 651-200-4974.

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