How should I care for my wounds?

In the tropics we have unique situations with humidity and temperature and it is important to care for your wounds. Plastic and reconstructive surgery often produces very large wounds and you will need to know how to care for these and what to watch out for. Healing is variable between individuals, parts or the body heal better than others and different medical conditions affect how wounds heal with diabetes, smoking, poor nutrition, immune deficiencies all impairing wound healing. Medications like aspirin, clopedigril, warfarin and some other medications increase the risk of bleeding. Check these out in the Frequently asked questions.

General points re incisions, wounds and scar management

  • Your scar is going to mature over several weeks and likely months after the incisions have healed.
  • Keep the wounds dry for 24 - 48 hours. After this you can wash or sponge bath but try and keep the area dry for about 1 week. If you do wet the area, you can pat dry the wound but better is to use a hair dryer without a high temperature.
  • If you are handling the wounds, your hands should be washed and the nails clean. Alcohol gel is a good for rubbing on the hands.
  • If the wounds are most sometimes letting air getting to the wound to help dry it out is good
  • Sometimes we prescribe ointment to put on the wounds or prescribe antibiotics. It is important to use these as directed and do finish the course of antibiotics unless there is some problem
  • When you remove the dressing, a lot of dressings have hypafix on the wounds. Rapid removal of these can cause blisters or skin irritation. To remove these dressings use baby oil from the chemist and smear this on the hypafix. Let is seep in for a few minutes and this will dissolve the glue and it should lift off. Then dry the wound and re apply the dressings
  • Hypafix, can also be used for scar management and for bigger operations it is useful to put a thin 1 cm wide strip on the incision. We recommend you do this twice a week, changing after 3 days then after 4 days.
  • Occasionally, betadine gel is useful for wounds and this is a great topical dressing
  • If you are prescribed a complex antibacterial dressing like a silver impregnated dressing, we will direct you.
  • Dont scratch or rub the wounds, itchiness is often a good sign of wound healing.
  • Do not put too much tension on the wounds so avoid aggressive exercise in the operated area.
  • Be careful when you sleep not to move the incision too much.
  • Keep healthy, you can if appropriate take multivitamins, zinc and vitamin C as these help wound healing
  • Report to the practice if there are signs of infection like temperature, fever, increased redness, wound discharge like pus

Scar Management

  • Once the incisions are healed we would recommend scar managment which you can mostly do yourself
  • Gently rub some bio oil or vitamin E into the wound
  • Massage the scar with the above for 10 minutes 3-4 times a day may be helpful
  • It is a good idea to massage for several months or at least whilst the scar is red
  • It is not always necessary to do this but Dr Mahajani feels this helps
  • See the preceeding section on hypafix, if there is hypafix applied, you can still massage over the top of this.
  • report to us if there are signs of infection of if you feel the incision is healing poorly, like if the scar is stretching too much, starting to thicken up or is healing poorly ( ulcerating, or bleeding )
  • Other details on scar management are given in the section on scar management.