Postoperative Care

Postoperative Care Instructions
  • Cotton tip applicators (Q-tips)
  • Non-stick dressing (Telfa or Release)
  • Paper tape
  • Petrolatum (Vaseline) ointment
  • Soap and water (any bath or hand soap)
Bandage Dressing:
  1. Wash hands and remove original dressing in 24 hours.
  2. Gently clean wound with soap and water. Rinse with water and pat the wound dry with gauze or a dry cloth.
  3. Apply a thin layer of Vaseline ointment with Q-tip.
  4. Cut Telfa to fit over the wound. If the wound is large or draining, place some gauze over the Telfa.
  5. Secure the dressing with paper tape.
  6. Change dressing once to twice daily. It is important that the wound stays moist with the ointment and that a scab does not form.
What to expect after surgery:

Pain management:
The surgical site may be sore for several days after surgery. You may take Tylenol (acetaminophen) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), as directed on the bottle, if needed for discomfort.

Most bleeding can be stopped by applying firm constant pressure to the dressing with a dry, clean gauze to the surgical site for 30 minutes (NON-STOP). If the bleeding does not stop after applying pressure for 30 minutes, please call Dr. Spencer.  Your post-operative instruction sheet has his cell phone number on it for after hours issues.  Please leave a number you can be reached at and remember to speak slowly and clearly. If you are unable to reach the doctor, go to the Emergency Room.

Swelling and redness may occur around the wound for several days. If surgery is done around the eyes such as the nose or on the forehead or scalp, the area around the eyes is often quite swollen and discolored for several days. The eyes may even be swollen shut which will affect the ability to work or drive. This may not peak until 48 hours after surgery. Drainage is to be expected in wounds that are not stitched and allowed to heal on their own. The drainage may be yellow-green and have a slight odor. It usually begins several days after surgery.

As the wound heals, you may feel skin tightening, itching of the scar or small sharp pains in the scar. These feelings are normal and will lessen as time passes. Massaging the scar (after stitches are removed) will often help flatten, soften and decrease itching of the scar. Scars are pink for several months after surgery and eventually turn white. The surrounding area may feel numb. This is usually temporary lasting 6 to 12months. The deep stitches may feel like “lumps” under the skin which will also go away over the next several months.

If the skin around the surgical site develops expanding redness, swelling, and pain and the wound begins to drain pus, you may have an infection. Please call the doctor.

Activity Restrictions:
If stitches were placed, please avoid heavy lifting and exercise till the stitches are removed.

Please resume your over the counter medications and NON prescribed aspirin one (1) week after surgery. Please continue your prescription medicines as directed by your physician.

You may get the area wet by showering or washing your face after 24 hours, but afterward, be sure to clean the wound as directed above. If stitches were placed, please no soaking wound in bathtub or swimming pool until stitches are removed.

Do not shave near the area with stitches.