Instructions for wound care after surgery to limit scarring

Steps to take care of the wound after surgery at home

  • Change the wound dressing

After surgery, the incision will normally be covered with a bandage to protect and help prevent bacteria and pathogens from entering as well as limit friction with clothes / blankets. Patients need to pay attention to changing the dressing at least once a day to ensure that the incision is clean, to avoid new tissue growing deep into the old dressing.

  • Use disinfectant solution to clean

Cleaning the incision with antiseptic solutions is the most important step, it will determine the success of the post-operative wound care process. If this is not done properly, the incision will be at risk of infection, festering, making it difficult for the skin to heal.

The incision belongs to the group of open wounds, so it is necessary to be very careful when choosing antiseptic solutions. Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are not recommended because they will sting and destroy the granulation tissue and fibroblasts in the skin, making the incision slow to heal. There are a number of other antiseptic solutions that will not guarantee the effectiveness of the disinfectant nor will it help to prevent the risk of infection.

  • Post-operative wound moisturizing 

When the incision is dry and closed, the fluid is no longer flowing, the doctor will advise the patient to use a moisturizer after each antiseptic. According to medical studies, the right moisture of the cream will contribute to the faster healing of the incision.

Note when taking care of the wound after surgery at home 

  • Do not sprinkle antibiotics or put leaves on the incision 

If using antibiotic powder to sprinkle on the incision, it will be easy to form a hard membrane, creating favorable conditions for anaerobic bacteria to grow deep inside. These drugs will not penetrate deep into the skin, so they will only have an antiseptic effect on the surface, but there are many potential risks of drug resistance and drug allergies for patients.

In some localities, patients also have the habit of applying medicinal leaves to the incision. In fact, this is a treatment that has been criticized by many experts for doing more harm than good. These folk medicinal leaves do not have enough scientific evidence to prove the effectiveness of wound treatment, and they do not guarantee sterility. When applied over an incision, it increases the risk of bacterial superinfection and makes the incision take longer to heal than usual.

  • Do not leave the incision wet for a long time

During the first 24 hours after surgery, the patient should absolutely avoid letting the incision get wet. In the following days, if allowed by the doctor, the patient can take a gentle bath. However, the process of bathing and cleaning the body must take place quickly, using warm water and appropriate soap. During this entire procedure, the patient must not flush water directly over the incision. To ensure that there is no further infection of the incision, the incision should be carefully covered with a waterproof gauze dressing.

  • Reasonable exercise during post-operative wound care 

After surgery, the patient is advised not to lie in one place but to exercise reasonably gently. Many doctors also recommend that patients should walk from the first day after surgery. However, patients should only choose gentle activities such as walking to avoid too much impact on the incision.

After the operation, the patient needs to have a reasonable rest regime, get enough sleep to help the incision heal faster.

  •  Post-operative wound care, some foods to abstain from 

– Do not eat sticky rice, chicken because these foods can cause festering, feeling itchy and uncomfortable. When the wound is healing, there is also a risk of leaving a keloid scar. Therefore, it is necessary to especially avoid using these foods when the wound is in the process of developing young skin.

– Do not eat water spinach when you have an open wound because it can cause keloids.

– Beef should also be limited because it can leave deep scars when the wound heals.

– Seafood contains many nutrients but should also be used sparingly, because this is fishy food and can cause allergies to people with open wounds.

  • Thread trimming time for surgical incision 

If the incision is sutured with dissolvable sutures, the stitches will disappear on their own after 7 to 10 days without the need for medical facilities.

If using common thread such as silk thread, nylon thread, etc., the patient needs to arrange a time to return to the medical facility according to the appointment schedule to have the thread removed. Depending on the condition and location of the incision, the surgical sutures will be removed after about 5 to 21 days.

When to see a doctor?

Patients should report back to the doctor or go to the doctor soon if they see any of the following abnormal signs after surgery:

  • The pain gradually increases.
  • the incision is red or swollen.
  • Bleeding/purulent wound.
  • From the wound increased secretions.
  • There is a bad smell.
  • The wound looks bigger and deeper.
  • Unfasten the suture.
  • The surrounding skin is edematous, painful or when pressed, it feels fluttery.
  • The whole body is tired, lethargic, sluggish.
  • The patient has a high fever > 38.5°C continuously for more than 4 hours.

These are signs that the wound is infected, need to take the patient to see a doctor for support to ensure safety.

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