Wound Care After a Biopsy or Electrodesiccation and Curettage Procedure (The James)

Wound Care After a Biopsy or Electrodesiccation and Curettage Procedure (The James)


Wound care is done to clean the wound, prevent infection and prevent a scab from forming. Follow these instructions to help your wound heal better. 


When to do the Wound Care

  • Keep the original dressing in place for 24 hours.
  • Remove the old dressing before you take a bath or shower.

Clean the wound once a day as follows:

  1. Allow water and soap from the shower to wash over the wound for 2 minutes.
  2. Dry the wound with a clean cotton-tipped swab (Q-tip) or gauze.
  3. Use a clean Q-tip to apply a thick layer of Vaseline or ointment over the wound. Use the type of ointment your doctor recommends.
  4. Cover the wound with a bandage. You may use a Band-Aid or Telfa pad and tape. If you do not want to use a band-aid, keep the wound covered with the ointment or Vaseline until the area heals over.


Wound Bleeding

To prevent bleeding, do not drink alcohol, and do not take aspirin or products with aspirin. Check with your doctor about using any aspirin or medicines that contain aspirin while your wound is healing. These drugs may increase the chance of bleeding.

If there is a large amount of bleeding, follow these steps:

  1. Put firm pressure over the wound for 20 minutes.
  2. If the bleeding stops after you hold pressure on the wound, do not remove the dressing. Keep the original dressing in place. Put a small piece of clean dry gauze over the dressing to help support the dressing.
  3. If the bleeding does not stop after applying pressure, put firm pressure over the wound again for another 20 minutes.
  4. If the bleeding does not stop, keep holding pressure on the wound and call your dermatologist or go to your local emergency room.



You may take Tylenol (acetaminophen) or extra-strength Tylenol every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain and discomfort. Follow the directions on the package. If you are not able to take Tylenol, ask your doctor what medicine to take for pain.


When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Increased redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain gets worse or is not relieved by your pain medicine
  • Pus-like drainage from the wound
  • Fever of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.06 degrees Celsius) or higher
  • Bleeding that does not stop after holding firm pressure for 20 minutes
  • A marble sized bump (hematoma) under the skin that is blue, purple or red
  • Red streaks on the skin spreading away from the wound


How to reach the OSU Dermatology Department

  • Call The OSU Dermatology Department at (614) 293-0404 for problems Monday through Friday during normal business hours.
  • For urgent problems in the evenings or after hours, call the hospital operator at (614) 293-8000 and ask for the Dermatologist on call.
  • If you have not received a report of your skin biopsy either by mail or by phone within 3 weeks after your biopsy, call the dermatology office at (614) 293-0404.



© July 8, 2020. The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

This handout is for informational purposes only. Talk with your doctor or health care team if you have any questions about your care.