Following your surgery, your nurse will clean the surgical site and apply Vaseline and a bandage. This bandage helps control bleeding and swelling by applying constant pressure to the wound and should not be removed until about 24 to 48 hours as instructed by your nurse. The bandage will also need to remain dry during this period of time to help maintain its effectiveness.
As the numbing medication wears off you may feel throbbing or pain at the surgical site. Ice packs are helpful for managing pain in addition to keeping the site elevated.
Over-the-counter pain medications can be taken as needed and your doctor may provide a prescription. Pain medication as well certain prescription pain medications contain the ingredient found in Tylenol. If you find yourself needing a prescription-strength pain medication, please discontinue any over-the-counter pain medications and contact our office with any questions. After the period of time recommended by your nurse, typically between 24 and 48 hours, you may remove the pressure bandage.
If you have received a skin graft you will see a yellow Vaseline gauze bolster sutured over your wound. This bolster acts as a pillow that applies constant pressure to the graft so that it maintains consistent contact with the underlying wound while keeping the graft stable and immobile. This bolster should be left in place until we see you back in clinic. One of the most important aspects of the wound healing process is rest.
Avoid all strenuous activities and exercises until your stitches are removed and do not lift more than 10 pounds which is equivalent to a gallon of milk. If your surgery has been performed above the neck do not bend over at the waist as this can cause increased bleeding problems.
Following surgery may include post-operative bleeding or rarely, infection. While at home, if your wound begins to bleed through your dressing, first try to stop the bleeding by applying pressure. Apply continuous firm pressure for 20 minutes. Pressure should be so affirmed that it is slightly uncomfortable. No peeking at the wound until 20 minutes have passed.
If you are still bleeding, repeat applying pressure for an additional 20 minutes. If bleeding persists, please do not go to the emergency room but call us first. Signs of infection may include redness around the wound that feels hot and firm, pain that is worsening rather than improving, yellow white drainage, foul smell from the wound and or fever. If you are concerned about infection, please call us at +27 012 001 9800 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In summary, keep your bandage on and dry for 24 to 48 hours and avoid strenuous activity, exercise and heavy lifting. Also avoid alcohol consumption during this period of wound healing and most importantly, please don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions or concerns about your surgical site.
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