General and Gastrointestinal Surgery

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 after surgery.  Do not become alarmed. Simply change the Band-Aids as needed.

  • You can 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 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 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 received antibiotics in the operating 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 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 darken your scar.

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