General and Gastrointestinal Surgery

Taking Care of the Incision

  • Your incisions are covered with Band-Aids.  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 as needed.
  • You can take a shower 24-36 hours after surgery.  Be sure to gently dry your incisions and replace the Band-Aids.
  • It is not necessary to keep your incisions covered after 2-3 days, but it will usually make you more comfortable.
  • Metal clips or sutures will be removed in the office, 7 to 10 days after surgery.
  • 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 incisions.
  • It is common for patients to notice some black and blue or maroon discoloration around the incisions. 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 any blood in the tissues moves to the surface. 
  • If your incision is red, hot and tender, you may have an infection.  In that case call the office.
  • You received antibiotics in the operating room at the start of your surgery.  You do not need them after surgery unless this was specifically discussed with you. 
  • It is normal for the incisions and the hernia site to be hard and swollen following surgery.  This is called a healing ridge and represents wound healing.  It is not a hernia and will go away in eight to twelve weeks. 
  • Do not tan your incision for one year after surgery as it will darken your scar. 
  • Some people believe Vitamin A and Vitamin E applied to the incision help wound healing. These can be obtained at a nature food or drug store.