How to care for your incisions post-surgery

By March 7, 2023News

After surgery, such as skin cancer treatment, body contouring, and plastic surgery for loose skin, it is important to take the proper care of the incision as it heals. Doing so will limit scarring, and help you avoid pain or discomfort, and importantly, will help lower the risk of problems like infection. Every plastic surgeon is unique in how they advise you to care for your wounds. In fact, different wounds have different requirements, thus it is vital to listen to your plastic surgeon’s advice.

So, how should you take care of your incisions post-surgery?

As a general rule, your wounds should be covered with a waterproof dressing to keep the wound clean and dry for the first 48 hours after surgery. After the 48 hours, most wounds are sealed and can be exposed to water.

Since wounds are still fragile at this point, we suggest protecting them with a dressing or micropore tape. Some dressings like micropore tape also works as excellent scar management. After a week post-surgery, wounds can be left exposed with the use of silicon oil, or tape as scar management.

When caring for your incisions, it is important that you do not do the following:

⦁ Scrub or rub the incisions.
⦁ Remove the tape strips from incisions unless your doctor advises you to.
⦁ Use lotion or powder on incisions.
⦁ Expose incisions to sunlight.
⦁ Take a bath unless you can keep the incision dry. Instead, opt for showers or sponge baths until your doctor says it’s okay to take baths. Before you shower, cover the dressing with a plastic bag or use another method to keep it dry.

You should be checking you incision daily to monitor any signs of infection, these include:

⦁ A yellow or green discharge.
⦁ A change in the odour of the discharge.
⦁ A change in the size of the incision.
⦁ Redness or hardening of the surrounding area.
⦁ The incision is hot to the touch.
⦁ Increasing or unusual pain.
⦁ Excessive bleeding that has soaked through the dressing.
⦁ Fever.

How can you reduce scaring?

At Southern Aesthetic, we ensure that every effort will have been made to achieve a subtle post operative scar. Unfortunately, all surgery leaves scars, but most fade with time. For the first two weeks post suture removal the wound will need a little extra help while it becomes waterproof.

As mentioned, micropore paper tape should be placed over suture lines for the first two weeks after your postoperative visit. This can be showered over and changed when it peels away. A thin layer of Vaseline can be used instead in parts where the use of tape is impractical. You can start utilising silicone products two to three weeks after surgery – tapes or sheets, such as Medisil or Cica-Care, yield the best results. These products can be obtained from most pharmacies and are also stocked at our practice.

At Southern Aesthetic, we care for our patients pre, during, and post-surgery. We provide all our patients with after-care guidelines and are always available if our patients have any concerns.Please contact us on 9588 2494 during office hours, or St Gorge Hospital Plastic Surgery Registrar 9113 1111 for urgent problems after hours.

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