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In addition to the general guidelines below, Kansas City Skin & Cancer Center will advise patients of care specific to their procedure. These guidelines are also available for download under Patient Forms. If you have any questions or concerns regarding pre- or post-operative care, please call

Pre-Operative Care

Do not stop any medications you are currently taking unless instructed by your doctor.

If you have a pacemaker or defibrillator, please notify the staff prior to and also on the day of surgery. 

This appointment is reserved for YOU. If you are unable to keep your scheduled appointment, please notify the office at least 48 hours in advance, so that we may schedule another person waiting to have their skin cancer treated in this time slot.

You may eat a normal breakfast if your surgery is in the morning. If your surgery is scheduled in the afternoon, please eat your normal lunch. If you are diabetic, please bring a snack with you.

You should plan to spend time waiting for laboratory results. Sometimes the surgery can be more extensive than expected and may take a good part of the day. Plan to be in the office for half of the day. 

Please wear comfortable clothing. We ask that you wear a two-piece outfit since it may be necessary for you to remove your blouse or shirt and put on a gown.

Due to limited waiting room space, please try to limit family or friends to one person. This will ensure your comfort as well as the comfort of the other patients who will be having surgery the same day.

If you are taking Coumadin (Warfrin), please have your INR taken 3 days prior to your surgery date and call our office with the results. We would also like a copy of the results faxed to our office at 816.584.8106.

Post-Operative Care


You will need tap water, surgical tape, Band-Aids, Q-tips, Telfa dressing, and Vaseline.

Wound Care

  • Clean wound two times daily beginning 48 hours after surgery.
  • Clean wound with Q-Tips soaked in tap water. Do not reuse Q-Tips. Remove all crusted material and any white/yellow material that can come off easily.
  • After cleaning, generously apply Vaseline with a clean Q-Tip.
  • Cover your wound with the following dressing: a) Telfa dressing cut to the size of the wound and then tape OR b) Band-Aids.
  • Continue wound care until stitches are removed or as your doctor directs. If the surgical site is swelling, you may elevate the site and apply an ice pack as long as the bandage stays dry.

Skin Graft Care

Following Surgery

Twice daily, if the yellow bandage over the skin graft area should become soiled with blood, you may gently clean around the edges of the bandage with a Q-tip moistened with tap water and reapply Vaseline over and around the edges of the bandage to keep it moist. It is very important to keep the area covered with Vaseline so the skin graft will remain moist and not dry out. No other bandage is required over the yellow bandage unless you desire one. If the yellow bandage should come off before one week, keep the skin graft moist with Vaseline and call our office.

After One Week

We will remove the yellow bandage unless other arrangements have been made with your referring physician. The skin graft may appear bruised when the bandage is removed. This is normal and the color will improve over several weeks.

You may get the graft wet in the shower but do not use a washcloth directly on the graft. Twice daily the skin graft will need to be gently cleaned with a Q-tip moistened with tap water and a generous amount of Vaseline applied directly over the skin graft and a Telfa dressing and tape or a Band-Aid applied over the graft to keep it moist. If a dressing is not used over the graft, the Vaseline needs to be applied more often, at least 4-5 times daily.

This care will need to continue for approximately two weeks after the yellow bandage is removed or until the graft does not appear to be drying out when the Vaseline is discontinued. Makeup may be applied to the graft when it has healed, usually after two weeks.

Personal Hygiene

In the first 48 hours, showers or baths are allowed if the bandage remains dry. After 48 hours, the sutures may then get wet but do not immerse in bath water.

Swimming is not allowed until the sutures are removed.

Additional Information

  • Unless the doctor states otherwise, take Extra Strength Tylenol for pain as needed.
  • Heavy lifting and exercise are not allowed until the sutures are removed.
  • Alcohol should be avoided for two days.

Contact the Doctor if the Following Occurs

  • Bleeding that saturates your dressing (spotting of dressing is expected). To stop bleeding, hold direct pressure over the dressing for 20 minutes and do not remove the dressing.
  • Fever greater than 100°F or 38°C.
  • Signs of infection, i.e., redness, swelling, foul-smelling drainage, pain or heat.
  • Severe nausea and vomiting. 

A physician can be reached at  until 4:00 PM. After 4:00 PM, call  to reach our answering service. For any questions, please call the office to speak with one of Kansas City Skin & Cancer Center's trained professionals.