General and Gastrointestinal Surgery

Care of the Incisions

  • Your incisions are covered with Band-Aids or gauze pads. It is not uncommon for them to become saturated with blood during the first 24 hours. Do not become alarmed; simply change the Band-Aids or bandages as needed.
  • You can take a shower 24-36 hours after surgery. Be sure to gently dry your incisions and replace the Band-Aids or bandages.
  • After 2-3 days, it is not necessary to keep your incisions covered but it will usually make you more comfortable to do so.
  • If you do not see metal clips or sutures, the sutures are in the skin itself and will dissolve. This occurs 3-4 weeks after surgery and may be associated with a little drainage from the incision.
  • Occasionally patients may see a small string in the incision. That is the suture and nothing needs to be done.
  • It is common for patients to notice some black and blue or maroon discoloration around the incision. This represents a small amount of blood and is normal. It should not alarm you. It is also common for this to only become apparent 2-3 days after surgery as blood in the tissues moves to the surface.
  • Call the office if your incision is red, hot and tender-you may have an infection.
  • You have been given antibiotics in the operating room prior to surgery. Unless instructed otherwise, you do not need them after surgery.