View Full Version : Incision Care

06-05-2006, 02:57 PM
I was just wondering what type of advice people received from their doctors about caring for your incision. Once the steri-strips are off and the stitches dissolved do use antibiotic ointment?

06-05-2006, 03:04 PM
In my case I had staples, once they were out I could shower and use soap & water. Absolutely no creams/ointment etc. just air dry and leave it alone.

06-05-2006, 03:22 PM
Hi Jenn,
I didn't use anything on my incision once the steri-strips were removed and it healed well and looks like a thin pencil line today. My husband checked the incisions after each shower to be sure they looked okay. Seven weeks post-op, he found a small infection at the top of my back incision (base of my neck) where a small bit of stitching would not dissolve. I had to have a small surgery to have the infected tissue removed from the area. I don't think that antibiotic ointments would have helped in my case, but you can ask your surgeon for his/her advice on if it's possible or necessary to try to prevent things like that.

06-05-2006, 05:17 PM
Nothing much, just unscented lotion if it gets dry. I had dissolvable stitches though, don't know if that makes the treatment different.

06-06-2006, 01:11 PM
Hi Heidi
Wow, I'll have to tell my boyfriend to be on the look out for changes. I didn't know it could become infected as late as 7 weeks after surgery. Did you immediately go to your surgeon or general prac?

06-06-2006, 01:30 PM
I became infected 4 months after my A/P, that is why I would be very leary of putting anything on your incision, unless your doc OK's it first. By the way my incision is from T4-S1

06-07-2006, 04:53 AM
Good morning,
I can only answer your question from replacement surgery- nothing was rubbed on it until the incision was well healed. Then I used lotion to try and "soften" the scar and would massage the scar. However, that was well after it healed.
Once again, since your surgery was so recent- I appreciate your messages. They are good warning orders for what is to come with me. Thanks.

06-07-2006, 09:24 AM
How did you know you had an infection? What signs should I look for ?

06-07-2006, 11:00 AM
The first time I just happen to notice a small dime size yellowish stain on the upper back on my underpants when I went in to shower. My husband said it looked like a small blister that had popped open. I went in to my surgeon's office the next day....had surgery a few hours later. This happened on July 3rd. In mid August I got up off the bed, after a nap and my levis were suddenly dripping wet....like I had wet my pants. I got my levis and pants off, the fluid was litterly running down my leg. The blister this time was about the size of a quarter. Again surgery. The same thing happend again in September and then in again in October, which was when my doc took out all of the hardware. Other than the blister appearing at the incision line I had no other symtoms. No fever/normal white cell count. After the second surgery I was on Vancomycin (IV) and Riphampin. I was having blood work done every week, because of the side effects of these drugs. Other than the blister I had no symtoms :(

06-07-2006, 11:05 AM
My husband saw that the area where the disolving(sp?) stitch was sticking out had started to get red and opened up a bit. I saw my surgeon right away. He couldn't tell if it was infected or not, he was hoping it was just irritated so he pulled out as much of the stitch as he could and tried stitching the area over. He mentioned that it might be infected below the surface but he couldn't tell from what he could see. I had the stitches removed a week later and he said that it looked good but to keep an eye on it. Later that night my husband was changing the dressing and saw that the area had opened up again...we saw my surgeon the next day and he set up my surgery the following morning.

My big worry was that he told me that if the infection had reached the hardware, it could get into the bone and I would need to be on IV antibiotics for 6 weeks. He found during the 20 min. surgery that it was only a surface infection (just below the skin) so I was very relieved! It did cause my scar to be extended upwards by an inch, which my surgeon wasn't happy about (he had managed to stop my original scar so that it ended just below the neckline and he was very proud of that!)

It's something that you shouldn't be paranoid about, but you should watch for. Infection never really crossed my mind once I left the hospital, but my hubby was constantly monitoring my incisions for signs and I'm glad he was...

06-07-2006, 01:36 PM
Wow..........I didn't think I had to worry about it either, but I'm so glad I know what to look for. It amazes me that my surgeon or his staff didn't mention what to look out for.
Thank you so much!