Post Operative Care
Post–operative care of your incisions is very important to prevent infection and promote ideal healing. After your procedure, it is normal to experience some pain, bruising, swelling and oozing. The degree of symptoms may vary depending on the extensiveness of your surgery.
Dealing with postoperative problems: What can you do?
Oozing / bleeding from an incision
If there is oozing from an incision line, apply pressure over the incision and hold for 20-30 min. This should reduce oozing or even stop it completely. You may have to repeat. It is normal to experience slight oozing for the first 12-24hrs. Active bleeding that does not reduce or stop should be reported by calling Dr. Bourget staff at 1-902-334-0700.
To reduce swelling
Apply an ice pack to the area of surgery to reduce swelling. Apply 20 minutes on then 20 minutes off, while awake, for the first 24 hrs after surgery. If you develop any bruising, you can take oral Arnica or apply it topically around the surgical site, NOT directly on the incision. This may assist in reduction of bruises. You can purchase this at your local health food store. Eating raw pineapple which contains Bromelin is suggested as a natural alternative to promote healing and prevent bruising. Normal healing time for bruises is 7-10 days.
Incisions with Steri Strips
If your incision is covered with steri strips (tape), there is no special care required. When the steri strips get wet, pat them dry with a towel. Steri strips will start peeling off around the 10th day. If you notice the steri strips peeling, cut the loose end with scissors and keep the remaining intact.
Incisions in the scalp
If you have an incision in the hair-bearing scalp, you can apply polysporin to the incision line once or twice a day or as indicated by your nurse or surgeon. Wash your hair with warm water and mild shampoo the day after surgery. Be very careful brushing your hair for the first 2-3 weeks after surgery to avoid catching the incision line and causing bleeding or irritation.
Incisions without a dressing
Incisions without a dressing should be kept clean. Start cleaning the incision 24hrs after your surgery with ½ water and ½ peroxide. Wipe clean by using Q-tips then apply a small amount of polysporin. This can be done morning and night until sutures are removed or as indicated by your surgeon or nurse.
It is normal for incisions to be somewhat red after surgery, this is a normal part of wound healing. If the incision becomes increasingly red and tender, there may be an infection. Please contact Dr. Bourget staff at 1-902-334-0700 to arrange an appointment.
Healing and scars
The process of wound healing varies from person to person. It is normal for incisions to be initially red, bruised and swollen. Most of this will settle in the first 2-4 weeks. Your incision will become pink, gradually flatten and fade to a white line. You can help to flatten the incision by massaging it daily with bio-oil. You will be advised by your surgeon or nurse when to start massaging your incision.
The final outcome is usually apparent in one year (12-18 months) after surgery. If the scar becomes very thick and tender it may be changing to a hypertrophic or keloid scar and should be seen by your surgeon. Patients who have diabetes or other immune suppressed conditions may experience a higher complication rate including infections and necrosis.
Things that adversely affect results
Smoking is a very significant cause of post operative complication. All patients are advised to quit smoking at least 1 month prior to surgery and 1 month post surgery to lessen the risk of poor healing complications.
AVOID ADVIL OR ASPIRIN FOR THE FIRST 3 DAYS AS THESE MAY CAUSE THE BRUISING TO WORSEN.
Sutures will be removed 7-14 days post surgery depending on the area of the incision. An appointment will be made for you to have the sutures removed by a nurse at Dr. Bourget office.
If you have any concerns please call Dr. Bourget office at 1-902-334-0700 to arrange a follow-up.