Expectations after surgery
You will likely be given antibiotic pills to prevent a viral infection (severe cold sores). The skin may be treated with ointment and a wet or waxy dressing. The skin will be quite red and swollen, and eating and talking may be difficult. There may be some aching, tingling, or burning for a while after surgery. Pain can be controlled with medications. The swelling will subside within 2 - 3 weeks. The skin will itch as new skin starts to grow. The freckles sometimes disappear in the treated area, but may return.
The dermabraded skin may develop
If the treated skin remains red, elevated, and itches after healing has started, this may be a sign that abnormal scars are beginning to form. The surgeon will provide treatment which can be started early.
For men, shaving will be delayed, then an electric razor is used.
For several weeks, the new skin layer will be a bit swollen, sensitive, and bright pink. Normal activities may be resumed and the patient can be back at work in about 2 weeks. Avoid any activity that could cause a bump to the treated area for at least 2 weeks. Ball sports are to be avoided for 4 - 6 weeks. Stick to indoor pools to avoid sun and wind, and keep your face out of chlorinated water for at least 4 weeks. For 3 - 4 weeks the patient will experience a red flush with alcohol consumption.
It is important to protect the skin from the sun for 6 - 12 months until the pigment has completely returned. The skin pinkness will take about 3 months to fade. Hypo-allergenic makeup may be worn to conceal the scar. When full repigmentation occurs, the color should closely match the surrounding skin, making the procedure virtually undetectable.
Review Date: 04/30/2005
Reviewed By: Jonathan Kantor, M.D., Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.