When recovering from surgery, either dental or medical, the last thing you want to happen is experiencing a problem with your incision, even when it’s time for stitches removal after surgery. Though incisions vary according to location and size, it’s important to know how to handle it with extreme care. Otherwise, you could suffer from complications such as infection. You might be asking some questions such as how long to keep stitches covered after surgery? How do you take care of your wound? This article will answer those.
Post-surgery, your surgeon will provide health teachings on how to take care of your incision.
- Keep incision dry. This should be strictly followed especially for the first 24 hours. Avoid letting the incision get wet when taking a shower. You might want to take just a tepid sponge bath if you’re afraid that the incision may get wet. Take a shower instead of a bath if you have those stitches or skin tape on your incision site. Gently dry the incision after washing with a gauze if possible.
- Removing the stitches. This should be strictly done by your surgeon. Stitches that don’t disappear with the skin are removed three days to three weeks post-surgery. Your doctor may apply skin tape once stitches are removed for additional support.
- Limit your movement around the stitches. Limiting movement of the area around your incision promotes improvement in healing. Avoid activities that could cause pulling apart of your incision. Avoid strenuous activities, lifting, or sports for the first month after your surgery.
- Always wash your hands before caring for your incision.
Important Things to Consider
- If your incision breaks open, call your oral surgeon as soon as possible. There’s a possibility that your doctor may decide not to close it again with stitches. This is where your doctor will show you how to care for your incision in a different and proper way. This will involve the use of bandages in order to absorb the drainage that comes from the incision. The bandages should also be changed frequently. The incision will heal in time, from inside out.
- A red incision may indicate a sign of infection, although some redness is normal. Nevertheless, it’s highly recommended to call your surgeon if the redness is increasing or spreading more than half an inch from the wound. You should also call your doctor if you see pus gushing out from the incision or if the incision is more than mildly tender or painful. Your surgeon may ask you to apply antibiotic ointment to the incision.
- If you’re experiencing bleeding from your incision, replace your bandage with a clean, dry bandage or gauze. Apply direct pressure to the incision for a few minutes to stop the bleeding. If it continues to bleed, call your surgeon.