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Caring for Incisions After Plastic Surgery

Posted April 28, 2014 in Plastic Surgery

Woman with surgeon drawing lines on breastsIf you are getting ready to visit our San Francisco plastic surgery center, you should know how to care for your incisions following your procedure. Dr. Henry exercises extreme caution and uses precise surgical techniques to protect your safety and ensure outstanding cosmetic results. However, cosmetic surgery is a collaborative effort; you must maintain proper aftercare to help guard against infection and minimize visible scarring.

The First Few Days

Your plastic surgeon will provide instructions to help speed your recovery, and you should follow these directives precisely, especially in regards to rest and exercise. Obviously, the instructions will vary significantly depending on the procedure you choose. For example, if you have blepharoplasty (or eyelid surgery), you will typically be able to return to work the next day. However, if you choose a tummy tuck, you may need to take several weeks off of work to rest and recuperate. No matter which type of surgery you select, there are set guidelines in place for caring for the incisions:

  • Keep the area dry per your doctor’s instructions. Generally, you should avoid showering for 48 hours, but this can vary from patient to patient.
  • Avoid swimming, hot tubs, saunas, and similar activities for about two weeks after your surgery.
  • Keep the area dry when showering.
  • Change your bandages as instructed and apply antibacterial ointment to the incision site.
  • Do not scrub, scratch, or use lotions on the incision.

Things to Look Out for

You should also check the incision site every day to look out for signs of infection. Dr. Henry is hyper-vigilant in the operating room, and side effects are very rare. Nevertheless, it is important to exercise caution following any surgical procedure. Notify your plastic surgeon if you notice any of the following complications:

  • Discomfort that increases in the days following surgery
  • Redness or hardness around the incision
  • Yellow or green discharge
  • Heat emanating from the incision site
  • Fever
  • A change in the shape or size of the incision

With early detection, your doctor may be able to treat an infection before it has any long-term consequences for your health or appearance.

After the Stitches Are Removed

Depending on your specific procedure, Dr. Henry will remove your stitches five days to three weeks after your surgery. She works carefully to create subtle incision sites and to conceal them in natural folds of your body or in your hairline. However, you can also help to minimize visible scarring and aid your healing by following a few simple tips:

  • When the incisions are fully healed, use a fragrance-free moisturizer to soften scar tissue.
  • Avoid direct sunlight on the incision. If you do go out in the sun, keep the area covered or use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
  • Follow scar massage techniques to minimize visible lines.
  • Do not smoke, as this can inhibit your body’s ability to heal itself.

Contact Dr. Henry

Dr. Kimberly Henry does not only provide precise, personalized cosmetic surgery; she also offers ongoing maintenance and care following your procedure. To find out more about our plastic surgery options or to learn about proper post-operative care, contact our office today.

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