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Post-Operative Wound Instructions

ITEMS YOU WILL NEED FOR YOUR WOUND CARE:

**We have wound care packages available for purchase that contain:

New Vaseline or Aquaphor

Non-Stick Bandage or Band-aids

Paper tape

Once your procedure is complete you will have a large bulky bandage over the surgical site.  This is a pressure bandage.  Leave this in place for 24 hours.  Do not get this bandage wet.  You can apply additional pressure over this bandage, if instructed to do so.  You may use cold compresses tonight over the top of the bandage.  Once you remove the pressure bandage, please follow the appropriate directions below.

IMPORTANT:

Always wash your hands before and after wound care.  Squeeze out vaseline onto a clean Q-tip, avoid touching the opening of the tube with your fingers.  This keeps the tube uncontaminated.

  • If your wound has been left to heal on its own:
  • Cleanse your wound once daily with warm soap and water.  Make sure to remove any dried blood or scab that has formed.  Gently blot the wound dry.  Cover the entire wound with a layer of vaseline.  Keep the wound covered with a non-stick bandage or band-aid.  Showering is allowed, but change the bandage if it becomes wet.  Some drainage is normal.
  • If your wound has been sutured and taped:
  • After removing the pressure dressing you will see a piece of tan-colored tap in place over your sutures.  This tape is glued in place and should be left on until your suture removal appointment.  As long as the tape stays in place, no further wound care is necessary.  You may shower but try not to get the tape saturated or the tape will come off.  Swimming is not allowed.  If your tan-colored tape comes off follow the directions directly below:
  • If your wound has been sutured but not taped:
  • You will need to clean along your suture line once daily.  First wash your hands, then gently clean the suture line with soap and water.  Make sure that you remove any dried blood or scab that has formed.  Gently blot the wound dry to remove any excess moisture.  Coat the suture line with a layer of vaseline.  Cover this with a non-stick bandage to keep the ointment in place.  Showering is allowed and soap and water may run over your stitches, but the shower should not spray directly onto the incision line.  Some drainage is normal.
  • If you have a skin graft with a tie over dressing: Remove your pressure dressing after 24-48 hours as instructed.  There is a cotton ball dressing sewn over the skin graft and it is NOT to be removed!  You should clean gently around the edges with soap and water.  Make sure that you remove any dried blood or scab that has formed.  Coat the edges generously with vaseline and cover with non-stick pad or Band-Aid.  Showering is ok, but try not to get the cotton ball dressing wet.  If it gets saturated it will start to smell.  Please know that some drainage is expected.
  • If you have a skin graft: Cleanse your skin graft once daily.  Be sure to wash your hands first.  Wash gently with soap and water.  Make sure that you remove any dried blood or scab that has formed.  Gently blot the area dry.  Cover the entire skin graft with a layer of vaseline and keep the skin graft covered with a non-stick bandage or Band-Aid.  Showering is allowed, but do not allow the water to hit the skin graft directly.  Some drainage is normal.

GENERAL WOUNT CARE INSTRUCTIONS

If you have been instructed to ice your surgery site, you should do the ice compress over your pressure bandage.  Ice should be applied for 10-15 minutes only.  Repeat this every 2 hours for the day of the surgery until bedtime.  A bag of frozen vegetable, such as peas, makes a good ice compress.

DO NOT take any medications containing aspirin, ibuprofen or vitamin E for 2 days after your surgery, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

DO NOT drink alcohol for 2 days after your surgery.

DO NOT exercise for 3-4 days after your surgery.  Certain surgeries will require longer periods of time off of exercise as instructed by your doctor.

After your surgery there is always a risk for the following potential complications:

  • Signs of infection: Increasing redness and pain surrounding your surgery site.  It is normal for the edges of the wound to be pink or red, but redness should not spread out beyond the wound edges.  Increasing pain should be reported to our office. A yellow film on your bandage or in an open wound is NORMAL and is NOT an infection.  Green, thick or foul smelling discharge on the bandage may indicate an infection and should be reported to our office.
  • Bleeding: It is normal to see a small amount of blood on the pressure dressing when you remove it.  If blood leaks out of the bandage within the first 24 hours, hold firm pressure directly over the top of the bandage, without removing it for 20 minutes.  If the bleeding does not stop, hold pressure for another 20 minutes.  Do not interrupt this pressure to “peek”.  If the bleeding still does not stop call our office immediately.
  • Hematoma: If blood slowly accumulates under the skin, this is called a hematoma.  You wound will become swollen and very hard to the touch and you may experience increasing amounts of pain.  This requires attention and our office should be notified.

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