Caring for your incisions is an important part of the postoperative process that be the difference between a poor and great result. Please follow our guidelines as closely as possible.
Skin incisions heal best when kept clean without scabs, and covered with a petroleum-based ointment. After your procedure, do not get any incision sites wet for 24-48 hours, and then with only bath water (i.e. no chlorinated or unfiltered water). Anytime we remove sutures, do not get those incision lines wet for another 24 hours. Incision should be treated at least three times per day:
In the morning, gently wash the area with warm water and a mild cleanser that is fragrance-free and dye-free (e.g. Neutrogena Transparent Facial Bar). Make sure you check the ingredient list of your cleanser. Pat incision sites dry; do not rub. Roll ointment onto the incisions with a Q-tip and apply a new dressing as instructed.
In the afternoon, remove the dressing. If crusts are present, clean the site with hydrogen peroxide using Q-tips or a cotton ball. Do not use peroxide on incisions close to the eye. Roll ointment onto the incisions with a Q-tip. Then apply a dressing as instructed (you may use the same dressing if it is not soiled).
In the evening, repeat what you did in the afternoon.
It is best to have your incision covered with ointment at all times in between cleaning. If you notice that your incisions are drying prematurely then increase the number of times per day that you apply ointment. Maintain this protocol until we tell you to stop.
In the weeks following your procedure, incisions will swell slightly and possibly redden. Later, this subsides and they become virtually imperceptible. This is the way scars normally mature. During this time, you should apply a sunscreen/moisturizer to incision sites at least twice daily. For areas that are pink (i.e. still somewhat inflamed), a sunscreen/moisturizer combo with mostly physical blockers (titanium and zinc oxide) and an SPF value of 50 or greater is best. Protect your incisions from sun exposure as long as they appear red (normally present for months). For incisions located near or in your hair, avoid color treating your hair for three weeks after your procedure.
Over the first six months to a year, incisions will soften and sensation will return. Any unevenness of the edges of the incisions or lumpiness of the scars is usually temporary, and will subside with time. We may ask you to massage areas that are temporarily lumpy or bumpy to make them smooth. Numbness will fade on its own, and the areas around the incisions will begin to feel normal again.
Any incisions on the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose or eyelids must also be kept moist, but in different ways. Incisions inside the mouth will be kept moist naturally by oral secretions and by the oral antibiotic rinse we prescribe (Chlorhexidine Gluconate). Incisions inside the nose may be moistened with nasal saline sprays and petroleum-based ointment on a Q-tip (as performed on skin incisions). Incisions concealed on the underside of the eyelid will be moistened with eye gel at night and eye drops during the day (including the prescribed Tobradex eye drops).
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