Wound Care

Patient instructions for care of a wound after surgery
You will have a bulky “pressure dressing” on the surgery area. KEEP THIS DRESSING DRY. Keep bandage in place for 24-48 hours and DO NOT get it wet. If it accidentally becomes wet, remove the bandage. When you remove the bandage there will likely be some dried blood on the wound. Clean with soap and water. Apply Vaseline/Antibiotic ointment and another bandage.

After the 24-48 hours, the wound should have crusted over and is less likely to become infected. Therefore, you may get the wound wet. Never leave a wet bandage over the wound, as this may encourage bacteria to grow.

Apply Vaseline/Antibiotic ointment to the wound until it is completely healed. The bandage may be discontinued after 3-4 days. If your wound is in an area where friction from clothing is likely you can keep the wound covered with a bandage. This will help prevent irritation.

Change the bandage daily. Applying the Vaseline/Antibiotic ointment before application of the bandage will help keep the discharge soft and the bandage will not stick to the wound. Antibiotic ointment may be used in place of Vaseline. The antibiotic ointments that are preferred are Polysporin ointment or Bacitracin ointment. Each of these are available as an over-the-counter medication. A prescription is not required for either one of these.

If you have any problems with increasing redness, pain, or thick discharge from the site I welcome a call from you. Evaluation for possible wound infection is better assessed immediately. Please schedule to have your stitches removed. We will discuss your margin report with you when you return for removal of your stitches.

Additional Instructions
If you have discomfort after surgery take non-aspirin pain relievers. Do not wait until pain builds up, take something at the first hint of discomfort and you may not need anything more. Remember aspirin or aspirin-containing pain relievers may cause bleeding.

Swelling is common and can be lessened by use of an ice bag, a blue-gel cooler pad, or ice cubes in a baggie. Leave the dressing in place. Use ice 20 minutes every 4 hour for the first eight to twelve hours after surgery. Swelling is USUAL around the eyes or lips when surgery is done in these areas. For surgery of the head, do not sleep flat have head slightly elevated (two pillows, reclining chair).

The area may ooze a little blood especially in the first few hours after surgery. Activity will aggravate this. Hot drinks or bending over at the waist can also cause bleeding of face wounds. If a graft area is bleeding call. Do not drink alcohol for one week after surgery, it may cause bleeding. If bleeding occurs, apply simple direct firm pressure for fifteen minutes. This will usually stop the bleeding if it does not stop bleeding, call the office.

If pain is increasing after one to two days after surgery call the office. The surgery area needs to be checked for bleeding or infection. Rest as much as possible the first day after surgery. Do not do any lifting, straining or exercise for 48 hours. If you had a surgery on the back, chest, or arms restrict heavy lifting to 2 weeks (nothing over 10 pounds). The scar will be as strong as possible day 28. Eat a nutritious diet. Small amounts of vitamin C and zinc may be helpful. A multivitamin may be helpful. If you have wounds around the mouth or cheek areas, limit hot foods, hot drinks, and heavy chewing for 48 hours; this will decrease the chances of post-operative bleeding. DO NOT use make-up or powder near a wound unless the surface is completely healed.

REMEMBER: Call if you have problems or questions: (509) 525-9404