Post Op Care | Rio Bravo Reversal

Post Op Care

Caring for your incision after surgery:

Following is a guide that will help you all to keep an eye on and take care of your incision after surgery.

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EMERGENCIES (Click here)

FOR EMERGENCY CARE ~ PLEASE SEE YOUR PHYSICIAN IMMEDIATELY or go to the nearest emergency care center. 

Incision care after surgery

The doctors will give you instructions on how to remove your stitches post op.  Stitches should normally be removed after about 10 days.

After surgery, you will need to take care of your incision as it heals. You will need to keep the area clean, change the dressing according to your doctor’s instructions, and watch for signs of infection.


To reduce the risk of infection:


Do wait 24 hours before washing the incision area.

Do look at the incision every day, checking for signs of infection (see below).

Do make sure to keep clean/dry dressing on your incision. Wear your support band as long as possible.

Do not:

-Scrub or rub your incision.

-Remove any tape strips (such as Steri-Strips) from incisions if any are used.

-Use lotion, creams, ointments, vitamin oils, or powder on incision.

-Expose incisions to sunlight or tanning booths.

-Take a bath.  Take showers until your stitches are removed, and the incision is completely ‘closed’.

-During your shower, do not use direct water pressure on your incision. For this reason you may wish to leave your dressing on during your shower. Or, you may wish to cover the dressing with a plastic tape or use another method of keeping it dry.

-‘Never’ leave wet or damp dressing on your incision, immediately replace it with clean and completely dry dressing after your shower.

During healing, you may notice some soreness, tenderness, tingling, numbness, and itching around your incision. There may also be ‘mild’ oozing and slight bruising, and a small lump may form. This is normal and no cause for concern.

Signs of infection –

Call your health professional if you notice any of the following:

Signs of an infection may include:

-A yellow or green discharge that is increasing.

-A change in the odor of the discharge.

-A change in the size of the incision.

-Redness and hardening of the surrounding area.

-The incision/skin around the incision is hot to the touch.

-Fever more than 24-48 hours post op.

-Increasing or unusual pain.

-Excessive bleeding that has soaked through the dressing.

To clean the incision:

-Gently wash it with soap and water to remove the crust.

-Do not scrub or soak the wound.

-Do not use rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or Mercurochrome, these can harm the tissue and slow wound healing.

-Air-dry the incision or pat it dry with a clean, fresh towel before reapplying the dressing.


Changing a dressing

Before you start, make sure you have: gauze pads, surgical tape, a plastic bag, and scissors.


1. Prepare supplies by opening the gauze packages and cutting new tape strips.
2. Wash hands
3. Loosen the tape around the old dressing.
4. Remove the old dressing.
5. At this point, you may want to clean the incision. (See instructions above.)
6. Wash your hands
7. Inspect the incision for signs of infection.
8. Hold a clean, sterile gauze pad by the corner and place over the incision.
9. Tape all four sides of the gauze pad.
10. Put all trash in the plastic bag
11. Seal plastic bag and throw it away.
12. Wash your hands.


Stitches normally cause some redness and swelling where the stitch enters the skin, along with mild irritation and itching. As the wound heals and begins to pull on the stitches, the soreness, especially when you move, may increase. Some drainage from the incision may be expected for the first week after surgery, but if the discharge does not decrease, becomes red with blood, or contains pus – contact your doctor. Because of the way your incision is stitched the scar is healing on the inside. Therefore the incision may feel hard to the touch. This is normal. If the area around the incision (not the incision itself) becomes hard or increases in pain, you may have an infection.

If you suspect you may have an infection or your pain has increased, call your doctor as soon as possible.

General Post Op Care Guidelines (times may vary based on medical needs and job requirements):

These are general guidelines, if you have specific activities you’d like to ask about please do.

No baths for 2 weeks / showers only -( for the first week do not let shower spray directly on incision)

Time off work depends on your job description. 7 days with a sit down job and anywhere from 2-6 weeks for a physical labor job – depending on daily activities.

No stairs for 7 days (unless mandatory – then up once/ down once per day)
No driving for 5 days
No reaching overhead, bending, twisting at the waist for 7-14 days (if it still hurts after a week add slowly the 2nd week)

nothing heavier than a gallon of milk for 1 week
nothing over 20 pounds for 2 weeks/ or more than 30 pounds for 6 weeks

No long periods of standing, walking for 2 weeks
No sex for 2 weeks (then only with condoms for 6 more weeks – sperm can cause scar tissue and in the tubes) Wait 8 full weeks before unprotected sex!

No house cleaning for 2 weeks
No floors (mopping/ vacuuming ) for 4-6 weeks

No exercise for 4 weeks (moderate walking after surgery is fine)
No aerobics, abdominal exercises or weight lifting for 8 weeks
No tanning beds for 12 weeks
No swimming pools 6 weeks / no ponds, lakes, oceans, etc for 12 weeks

Do not put antibiotics or creams on your incision. Cover with bandage to avoid irritation from clothing but leave open to air as often as possible.