General and Gastrointestinal Surgery

Incisional Care

  • Your incisions are covered with a gauze pad. It is not uncommon for the pad to become saturated with blood during the first 24 hours. Do not become alarmed; just change the bandages as needed. 
  • You can take a shower 24-36 hours after surgery. Be sure to gently dry your incisions and replace the bandage. 

  • After 2-3 days, it is not necessary to keep your incisions covered but it will usually make you more comfortable to do so as you increase your activity. 

  • 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. 

  • It is common for patients to notice some black and blue or maroon discoloration around the incisions. This is caused by 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. 

  • If your incision is red, hot and tender, you may have an infection. In that case call the office. You have been given antibiotics in the operating room prior to surgery. Unless it was discussed with you, you do not need them after surgery. 

  • It is normal for the incision to be hard and swollen after surgery. This is called a "healing ridge" and it is a signal of wound healing. It is not a hernia and it will go away in 8-12 weeks. 

  • Do not tan your incision for one year after surgery; it will leave a dark scar. 

  • Some people believe that Vitamin A and Vitamin E, when applied to the incision, help wound healing. These can be obtained at a natural food or drug store.

Follow-up care