Home Forums Melanoma Diagnosis: Stages I &II WLE still open- 3 mos

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    My WLE is a week short of 3 months old. Any one have one on their back that healed so slowly? It looked great till this center thing opened up a couple of weeks ago. It’s not deep. Drainage is very scant and really no signs of infection. i don’t want to waste the doctor’s time unless i have to. Cosmetics are not an issue for me at 60.


    Thanks, Kris


    I had WLE a year ago on my upper back (left side). It was not terribly painful, I actually stopped taking the strong stuff pretty quickly because it gave me upset stomach and so I went to Tylenol and was fine with that. The thing that happened with me is either I started moving around too much too soon, or it was going to happen anyway just because of the location. . you almost can’t move without stretching that area. . .so it opened up. So, while it started healing and the skin was very thin there, it eventually opened up and so I had a big hole in my back for a long time while it healed from the inside out. It didn’t get infected, it didn’t really hurt, and my wife would just change the dressing on it each day. I didn’t need one of those vacuum things that drain fluid or anything like that, I just let it slowly heal after it opened, and eventually after maybe couple months it finally healed up. Because of that, the scar is bigger, of course. My surgeon is a very skilled, very good surgeon (specializes in breast cancer and melanoma), but he sees this scar and just says it’s not in his top 10 that he’s done, that’s for sure. I don’t care so much about the cosmetic part. I actually have talked to one dermatologist who said when she does a WLE in that part of the back, she knows it is likely to open so she doesn’t even bother to close it up, she just lets it heal from the inside out. . . .upper back between shoulder blades is where mine was. My surgery was early August and I’d say probably took till some time in Oct will it finally closed/healed all the way, but it eventually did


    Thanks, Cohanja. Your post helps me. I’ve had this nagging me for a few weeks wondering if i was negligent not having it checked by the doctor. i feel better knowing you went through

    a similar healing process. I know any repair now could “sew in infection”, so to speak.



    If I were you I would contact a Wound Center. I was a patient at one for about 6 mos for incisions from back to back surgeries last Jan and Feb. My insurance does not require referrals so I just called the one associated with my local hospital. This was not where I had the surgeries which was 50 miles away. This required 2x week appts and finally 1x week towards the end. They will make you agree that they are the only ones dictating the plan of care. They don’t want your surgeon or anyone else prescribing conflicting orders. They were very helpful and knew what they were doing. None of my Dr’s had a problem with my referring myself and actually thought it was a good idea. You are at risk for infection with an open wound esp for that long.


    my incision was very tight and the skin became VERY thin -it could very well have split open but didn’t. I guess the only reason to go back in is for cosmetic reasons, and if you are not worried about that just give it time and keep it moist with ointment.


    Thanks for the information Msue5. it’s all good information to know and i appreciate your time posting to me. I’m one of the millions in the US who is not insured and i know wound centers are expensive. i would use that option if the split was deep, but this is shallow.

    Thanks worry, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. i started using neosporin ointment tonight. When i went to have my sutures removed the surgeon cut twice on or near the incision line with a blade and expressed serosanguineous fluid out. Guess it was a small seroma. I didn’t ask.I just remembered this tonight. Glad he didn’t try that a third time with no warning :-)



    This is probably too late to help and maybe you’ve gone in…but my WLE opened up for about 6 months in the middle. My skin hated the internal stitches (though I’ve had them before for other things) and kept spitting them out. The incision would open in a little circle, ooze a bit (gross!), and then part of a stitch would poke through. It would heal back over and then repeat. After going in a couple of times the LPN gave me a couple of sterile stitch removing kits and said to clip and pull. It’s been over a year and the thing is still kind of tender. Oh, and, it is a pretty hideous scar but a great conversation starter to spread the sun-safe message! Anyway, she said that some people’s skin just does not do well with certain types of stitches and told me to mention this to the doc if I ever needed another because there are some that are less irritating.


    My WLE, despite being the most extensive medical procedure I’ve ever undergone, was complication-free, as well as being almost painless. That’s kind of unusual, because I’m prone to getting infections.

    I got sick, too. I was out of the hospital by ten that morning. I took one of the hydrocodone pills I was prescribed so I wouldn’t be taken by surprise by any excruciating pain after the local anesthetic wore off. Later that night, I had to pull my car over and throw up – right in front of a school. However, I’ve taken hydrocodone before for an earlier problem I had with my neck. They didn’t make me sick then, so I’m not sure if that’s what turned my stomach after the WLE.

    Speaking of prescription pain meds, now that I have (legitimate medical) experience with them, I can clearly understand why someone would take enough of them to get addicted.

    Most of this reply was pointless and unrelated to the post, but hey, if I can’t ramble every now and then……


    I had WLE a year ago on my upper back (left side). It was not terribly painful, I actually stopped taking the strong stuff pretty quickly because it gave me upset stomach and so I went to Tylenol and was fine with that.

    Catherine Poole

    For my surgeries I have gone through, I used a combination of tylenol and advil. I can’t tolerate the side effects of the narcotic pain relievers. This worked very well after 8 hours of reconstruction of my hand that was severely fractured! As for WLE that don’t close properly, certain flap procedures and skin grafts can help where there isn’t enough skin. Sometimes a plastic surgeon is more skilled in this arena.


    I posted at 3 months.

    It’s now 4 months and the scar is okay. The hole closed up and it’s dry.

    It’s at the bottom of this collection of the progress. Warning- it’s gross.




    You certainly have been through a lot but your scar looks good. Plus over time it may even fade more. My scar is a lot uglier!


    Mine’s pretty bad too cause it opened up. I see others where it’s a straight thin line, mine is like a big wide oval. But I don’t care as long as the surgery got it all.


    Others were talking about pain killers in this thread.

    I would encourage you all to use non-narcotic pain meds when you are able to get relief with them. My sister who did have some lung problems, died at 54 .

    Normal middle class lady by appearances.

    Cause of death – well- i am sure it was from decreased respiratory effort from taking multiple narcotic pain relievers. She had gone to a pain clinic and pretty much was prescribed whatever she requested. To this day, i have no clue what pain she was treating. She had all these meds in her purse.




    Hydrocodone 1.0 mg # 90 every three weeks

    Over use narcotic pain relievers and you may not wake up.

    These drugs certainly have good use in a hospice situation.

    If by chance i helped one person this post was time well spent.



    Good post Kris, sorry about your sister. The pain pill epidemic is definetly out of control, yet the govt. lets it continue to operate legally, yet such resistance to legalizing marijuana. How many people you hear of overdosing on cannabis. Pill companies are the problem !!

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