Wound Care Following Weight Loss Surgery
After your weight loss surgery is complete and you have been discharged from the hospital, you will be given at-home care instructions for the remainder of your recovery. One of the most important tasks you will have during recovery involves caring for your surgical wound.
Types of Surgical Wounds
The size and appearance of your wound depends on the technique used for your surgery. For example, if Dr. Bass uses a Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery technique (SILS) you will have a single incision at the belly button. If your surgeon uses normal laparoscopic techniques, you will have three to five small incisions to take care of. In some cases an open technique is necessary and you will have a single large incision. Likewise, some wounds may be closed with stitches or staples, which must be removed, while others may be closed with sutures, which dissolve on their own.
Wound Care Tips
Specific wound care instructions may vary. However, below are some general tips for caring for your surgical wound.
1. Clean your hands.
Clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer whenever you clean your wound or change its dressing.
2. Remove old dressing carefully.
When removing your wound’s old dressing, be careful not to pull too hard or remove it too quickly. Follow all instructions provided by your doctor, and make sure you have all of your supplies nearby before you begin the process.
3. Clean the wound.
If you have been instructed to clean your wound, do so using soft gauze or cloth. Use saline solution or a mild soap to remove dried blood and other debris. Handle the wound gently at all times, and pat the wound dry carefully when you are finished.
4. Don’t use unapproved products.
Unless otherwise instructed by your doctor, don’t use creams, lotions or herbal remedies on your surgical wound. Likewise, you should clean and dress the wound using approved materials only.
5. Redress the wound as instructed.
After cleaning and drying your surgical wound, apply a new dressing as directed by your doctor. Dispose of your old dressing, and wash your hands thoroughly after you have finished caring for your wound.
6. Watch for Infection
A small amount of pinkness at the incision site is normal but increasing redness and hardening around the incision is not. Keep a close watch for worsening pain, heat at the incision site or yellow/green discharge from the incision. If you have a fever, take your temperature frequently and call your surgeon if it goes over 101 degrees.
Do not try to remove your stitches or staples at home. If necessary, Dr. Bass will remove them at a follow-up appointment. Unless otherwise instructed, avoid soaking in tubs or swimming pools until your wound has healed. If you need to cough or sneeze after surgery, hold a pillow against your wound to prevent tears. If you notice signs of infection or tears in your incision, contact your doctor immediately.