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Surgical Wound Care:
Your surgeon will probably check the surgical wound and change your dressing before letting you go home. It is normal to have numbness or discomfort in the surgical area. You will be given pain medication to make any pain more bearable. Take the medication as directed, but inform your doctor if the pain gets worse.
It is also normal for the surgical wound to itch for a week after surgery. Most of the time, this is a normal part of the healing process. Be careful not to scratch the area. Inspect the wound for signs of an infection or ripped stitches. Make sure to report this to your surgeon if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
How to Care for a Surgical Wound:
Always follow any specific instructions given to you by your surgeon. In general, most surgeons recommend keeping the wound clean and dry for the first 3 days. Ask your surgeon when it will be ok for you to take a shower.
If you have left the hospital and still have a dressing on your wound, you should change it once every day or two. Ask your surgeon if you are unsure. Each time that you change the dressing you should inspect the wound for redness, puss, swelling or broken stitches. Inform your surgeon immediately if you notice any of these problems.
You main concern is to avoid infection and swelling. Keep the dressing clean and dry. Always wash you hands before and after touching the surgical area. Avoid swimming pools, baths, and hot tubs until the incision is completely healed. Put some ice in a bag and wrap it in a towel to place on the wound and prevent swelling.
If you happen to have butterfly bandages, they might start to peel a few days after surgery. They will fall off on their own when it is ok, so don't pick at the bandages. If they are removed too early it can cause complications.
Speed Up Healing and Prevent Scarring:
Most wounds should be mostly healed within two or three weeks. However, it can take months or even years to completely heal, depending on the surgery. Healing slows down if you have a weakened immune system, diabetes or on certain medications such as steroids or chemotherapy.
You can speed up healing after surgery by not smoking, eating a nutritious diet, vitamin C, protein and zinc.
Some supplements have been shown to speed healing. Many surgeons recommend arnica montana supplements and bromelain to reduce swelling and bruising.
Avoid putting stress on your incision by bending, lifting, or doing anything that stretches or puts tension on the incision. This stress pulls the incision apart, which delays healing. It also makes the wound larger than it needs to be, which increases the size of your scar.
Sunlight can delay healing and increase scarring.
You can apply an ointment such as Neosporin or cocoa butter with vitamin E to reduce scarring. Many people recommend using Urban Skintrition Stretch Mark Cream with Shea Butter, Vitamin E, C, and Collagen Repairing Agents to reduce scarring after surgery. Make sure to ask your surgeon first to see if it is ok to use.
Silicone sheets have been shown to reduce scar formation after surgery. These sheets can be purchased over the counter and can be placed directly over the surgical site. They have proven especially helpful in preventing or healing the formation of hypertrophic, or raised, scars.