Post-Operative Instruction: Caring for Skin Surgery Site
Your incision may be closed with metal clips (staples), stitches, Steri-Strips® (small white skin closure strips), or Dermabond® (a liquid skin adhesive). You should check your incision each day for signs and symptoms of infection. Please report any of the following to your doctor:
- Increased redness, swelling, or heat at the incision.
- Increased pain or tenderness at the incision.
- Increased drainage containing pus from the incision.
- Separation of the skin at the incision site.
- A bad odor from the incision.
- Temperature of 101ºF (38.3ºC) or higher
Wound Care : If a dressing has been placed on the incision, keep it in place for 24 hours. Steri-Strips® or Dermabond® should not be removed. The Steri-strips will fall off by themselves in 1-2 weeks. The Dermabond (skin glue) can be peeled off after 3 weeks. Keep the wound dry for 2 days or as instructed by your doctor. Please do not use hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, or creams and lotions on the incision unless your doctor or nurse has told you to do so. A small amount of clear yellow or light red drainage from the incision is expected. If excess bleeding at the incision occurs, apply firm pressure and call your doctor or nurse. If your ears were operated on, then use the headband as directed. If your eyelids were operated on, then be sure to keep your eyes moist with artificial tears, to prevent them from drying out.
Showering : After 2 days, you can clean the incision daily with soap and water, and pat dry. If a drain is in place, please do not shower until instructed by your doctor. When showering, let the water drip and pat dry. Do not scrub the area. Do not submerge wound under water. No baths or swimming.
Activity : Discontinue exercise until your doctor or nurse tells you to start again. Do not lift objects heavier than 10 pounds. Do not immobilize the affected area unless you are instructed to do so.
Pain Control/Medications : You can expect some pain and tenderness at the incision. You will either be given a prescription for pain medication or you may take Extra Strength Tylenol® (acetaminophen). Do not use aspirin or anticoagulants (medication that thins the blood) unless you are instructed to do so by your doctor or nurse. If you were prescribed antibiotics, take them until you finish. If you develop diarrhea, let your doctor know immediately.