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Caring for your new closed incision

Updated: Apr 26, 2022

In the early first few weeks after your surgery, it is a key time in your healing.

Obviously, you want this incision to stay closed and keep progressing to get that nice result!

Your doctor gave you instructions to follow and that should be your first place to look for information since every procedure is different and only your surgeon knows best about what was done to your body and how to prevent further issues.

As far as general advice;

Keep that incision dry! No ointments for the first 2 weeks at least. If there is an opening or a spitting stitch then that's a separate issue. Too much moisture can cause the incision to fail and open, so keep it dry.

Support high tension areas! If a lot of tissue was removed and the skin was pulled pretty tight, using medical tape or steri strips can take a little bit of tension directly off the skin and sutures. These can be left on until they start to peel off. Replace with clean strips as usual. If you notice that an open area in the incision is starting. Clean it well and let you MD know. This is common but also not what you want to happen. Any open area is a portal for infection, so clean hands and consider gloves especially if you wear fake nails.

Brace for impact! Coughing, and sneezing can cause a sharp quick increase in pressure. Using a small pillow or your hand to support the incision is a good habit to get in the beginning of recovery to support the fragile incision.

Keep it smooth! Constipation is a common side effect of many pain medications and your appetite may be altered for a while. Bearing down can also increase strain and pressure. You may benefit from a stool softener if you are having a hard time having a bowel movement. One of my favorite options is a senna tea at night and awaken to have a smooth movement in the morning in a gentle way.

Prevent excessive swelling! Don't let edema add extra pressure to your incision. Common tips to prevent swelling include the following:

  • Move more often. Short bouts of activity like walking and pumping exercises will keep lymph moving. Build up slowly to longer and more progressive exercises. Need help figuring out what to do, Try out the Home Healing Program

  • Drink more water. It helps to keep the lymph fluid viscous and also helps to motivate you to get up more and get to that bathroom :)

  • Add compression. Light Compression can help to support the incision and prevent excessive swelling. As you progress past the first few weeks and as long as you don't have any open wounds you can progress to more pressure. There are countless options for garments. Here are a few to consider They all have customer service numbers to help you get a good fit.

If you have a small opening starting, feel free to send a picture through the help line or for a more extensive opening consider booking a wound consult for help developing a plan especially if you do not have a local wound specialist to guide you.

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