Fortunately, melanoma is highly treatable, and with timely medical diagnosis and treatment, the prognosis is typically excellent. If you have been diagnosed with this type of skin cancer, the extent of your melanoma surgery will be based upon the stage of the lesion. While recovery from surgery is typically uneventful, complications such as infection, slow healing, and pain can develop. Here are three tips to follow that will help promote healing and reduce your risk for complications following your melanoma surgery:
If you smoke cigarettes, try quitting or, at the very least, cut down a couple weeks prior to and after your surgery. The toxins in cigarette smoke can lead to capillary dysfunction and may even heighten your risk for poor circulation in and around your surgical site.
In addition to diminished blood flow to the skin, smoking can also raise your risk for developing a wound infection. If you need help quitting, talk to your dermatologist, who can recommend effective smoking cessation therapies that will help you to manage your nicotine cravings.
Take Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a nutrient that plays an important role in wound and tissue healing, and therefore, should be included into your daily meal plans. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges and green leafy vegetables, however, if you are unable to tolerate these nutrient dense foods, talk to your doctor about taking vitamin C supplements.
While effective in lowering the risk for infection and enhancing would healing, vitamin C, if taken in large doses, can cause digestive problems such as acid reflux, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea. To help maintain your body's stores of vitamin C, cut back on coffee and calcium supplements, because these can interfere with its absorption.
Optimal fluid intake is crucial after melanoma surgery. It helps keep your skin hydrated, promotes circulation, enhances elimination of toxins, and may help reduce your risk for infection. While most types of fluids will help maintain hydration, plain water is best.
Coffee and other caffeinated beverages can further promote dehydration, and sugary drinks can lead to a heightened risk for wound infections. If you are on a fluid restrictive diet because of a medical condition, talk to your doctor about recommending a safe amount of water to drink everyday while you recover from your surgery.
If you are facing melanoma surgery, consider the above tips to help promote healing. Also, work with a dermatologist like those at Asheboro Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center to develop a plan of care to help reduce your risk for complications after your procedure.