Your wounds have been repaired with 2 layers of stitches. All the stiches will dissolve. Occasionally, if the clear suture protrudes from the skin, it should be trimmed flush with skin. There will usually be tape dressing covering the stitches.
Initially, all the wounds will feel numb as the local anaesthetic is still in effect. Before the local anaesthetic effect wears off start taking simple, over the counter analgesia. These include paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (such as Nurofen, Voltaren, etc). Follow the instructions on the pack and only take them if you have no known adverse reactions to them. If you are unsure, speak to Dr Yang. You should also use ice packs on your wounds to help reduce the swelling. You can use frozen peas or ice packs wrapped in a clean tea towel or paper towel for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, when awake for the first 24-48 hours post-surgery.
It is normal for there to be some bleeding from the wounds for the first day or two. If this occurs, elevate the area if possible, place frozen peas or an ice pack over the region and put direct, firm pressure with a finger/s over the bleeding spot for 15 continuous minutes. This will stop the majority of bleeding. If it doesn’t, then contact Dr Yang’s rooms or his mobile. Failing this, present to the Greenslopes or St Andrew’s Emergency departments before seeing your GP. Dr Yang is responsible for your post-operative care, and the emergency departments can more easily get in touch with Dr Yang and manage potential problems.
The tape dressings should be kept dry for 3 days. After this, it can be wet in the shower, patted dry or blow-dried with a hair drier set on the ‘cool’ setting.
If the dressings get soiled or become dislodged before your review, simply remove the tape and apply a new strip of micropore tape, Hypafix or Fixomull. These can be obtained from any chemist.
Wounds reach about 50% of the strength of normal, uninjured skin at 6 weeks. This is why it’s very important to rest and not do any excessive physical activities for this period of time. Significant forces prematurely placed on the wound could pull it apart. Such strain can be brought about by activities that may include lifting, gardening, cleaning and exercise.
Elevating the limb when able, will also help to reduce swelling, bruising, bleeding and throbbing pain.
Dr Yang’s nurse needs to review the wounds after about 1 week to ensure that they are healing appropriately.
A supportive dressing such as hyperfix or fixomull should be placed on the wounds for a total of 3 months. It can be changed every week, or more frequently if it gets dirty or dislodged. Soaking the tape with baby oil or cooking oil for 15 minutes will dissolve the adhesive and allow for easier removal. The supportive dressing will help to reduce the amount of natural widening of the scar.
It is normal for the scar to be red and lumpy and sometimes tender for about 2 months following surgery. It will soften and become pale over the ensuing 6 to 12 months.
PLEASE REMEMBER: If there are any issues please contact Dr Yang or his rooms. He would prefer to know of any problems before you go to your GP as HE is RESPONSIBLE for your post-operative care.