Wounds that have been stitched should be kept dry for 5 days after surgery.
A dressing is applied after most minor surgical procedures. There are some sites where a dressing is not practical (eg scalp), and in this case I use antibiotic ointment.
On the face I use Steristrips and flesh coloured micropore tape. The dressing should be kept dry and on usually until the stitches are removed at about 7 days post-op.
On other parts of the body, I use a water-resistant dressing with an absorbant pad (Tegaderm pad). This dressing is resistant to splashes of water, but will come off in the shower or bath if it gets wet. I recommend that dressings remain on until stitches are removed. If the dressing does come loose, it can be replaced (you will be given a spare dressing). It is normal to see some spotting of blood on the dressing.
Wounds where a dressing is not used
Where a dressing is not practical, and after shave excision of small lesions, I use an antibiotic ointment. This is called Chloramphenicol eye ointment; it is ideal for eyes, but also for healing skin wounds. A small smear of ointment should be applied to the wound 3 times each day until the stitches are removed or the wound is healed.
After removal of stitches
When stitches have been removed, the area may be washed as usual. Some cosmetics irritate a wound, so it is better to wait for a week or two after stitches have been removed before using make up. Mineral powder cosmetics (eg Jane Iredale or Glo Minerals) are ideal, as these are not as irritant as oil based cosmetics.
It is important to be particularly careful with sun exposure of a healing wound. Scars take as long as a year to mature, and should be protected from sun exposure for this period.
There are a number of creams and oils available to improve the quality of a scar. I recommend Kelo Cote, a silicone gel preparation. Research has shown that silicone gel is an effective treatment for scars.
Kelo Cote is a clear gel. A very small amount is applied to the wound 3 times each day, starting when the wound is fully healed (not moist or scabby). The thin film of gel should dry within a few minutes; if it does not, then you have applied too much!
Kelo Cote is available in my clinic, or can be bought over the counter at chemists.
Wound infection is very rare in my practice, I am very meticulous with my surgical technique.
Wound infection, when it does occur, develops typically several days after a surgical procedure. The signs of a wound infection are:
- Increasing pain
- Redness spreading away from the edges of the wound
My private patients should contact me directly if there are any concerns after a minor surgical procedure.