Wound Care Post Surgery

Wound Care Post Surgery

Keep the postoperative bandage in place until showering the next morning. Before showering, remove and discard the bandage. Cleanse your incision with soap and water (not hydrogen peroxide, not alcohol) to remove any drainage and crusting. Pat the wound dry and apply a generous layer of Vaseline, Bacitracin, Bactroban ointment to the incision. Cover the Vaseline, Bacitracin, Bactroban with a non-adherent Telfa dressing. Tape the Telfa dressing in place with paper tape. Continue this wound care once daily until you return for suture removal.

Prescription Medications

Continue your regular medications as you normally would. If you take doctor-prescribed aspirin, Coumadin or Plavix, please continue your prescribed dosage. Unless doctor prescribed, do not take aspirin or aspirin containing medications (Alka-Seltzer, Anacin, Excedrin, Aleve, Bufferin, Emprin Compound, Ecotin, multiple “cold remedies”) and/or Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, Ibuprofen, high dose vitamin E within the first 24 hours following surgery. Tylenol or acetaminophen is acceptable to take during this period for any procedure-related discomfort.

Activity Level Following Surgery

The recommended activity level following the surgery will depend on the location of the skin cancer, the type of post-operative repair and underlying medical status of the patient.

If possible, please spend the first day following surgery relaxing. Surgery performed on scalp and/or face (forehead, nose, cheeks, and eyelids) may result in swelling and bruising around the eyes (black eyes). Swelling and bruising may increase progressively during the initial 48 hrs post-operatively and resolve over the subsequent 7 to 10 days. To decrease the likelihood of postoperative side effects:

  • Keep your head elevated during the first few evenings with extra pillows if surgery was performed on the scalp and/or face.
  • Apply ice packs (10 minutes of ice application every hour) to the surgically treated area during the first 48 hours to minimize bruising and swelling.
  • Heavy lifting and exercise should be limited until after the sutures have been removed.
  • Showering can be started the morning after surgery. Bathing is allowed if the incision site is not soaked. Pat the wound dry after leaving the shower and reapply the Vaseline and bandage. Swimming should be postponed until after the sutures have been removed.