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General Surgery FAQs

How do I care for my incision?

You may have steri-strips (thin, white adhesive strips) or DermaBond (super glue) over your incision. DermaBond will come off by itself within one to two weeks. Steri-strips may be removed by your surgeon at your first appointment, one week after surgery. Keep any dressings clean, dry and intact.

When can I shower, bathe or swim?

It is okay to take a shower any time after the surgery. If your dressing gets wet, it is okay to remove it (but leave the steri-strips or DermaBond in place) and replace with a new, clean dressing. Avoid soaking in the bathtub or swimming in pools or the ocean for two weeks.

What daily activities can I do?

We encourage you to walk every day, as much as you can. You may drive when you are no longer taking narcotic pain medication.  No heavy lifting (over 25 lbs) for one week. Consult with your surgeon before starting an exercise program.

How can I speed up my recovery?

Some helpful tips for speeding up your recovery include the following:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Ask for help
  • Move around often
  • Eat the right foods
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take time for yourself

When should I call my doctor?

Contact your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following occur:

  • Signs of infection at incision, such as redness, swelling, or a foul odor or discharge
  • Chest pain
  • Fever 101 degrees or greater
  • Bleeding at the incision site
  • Severe pain
  • Not using the bathroom for 12 hours or more
  • Dark, bloody stools
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Any side effects from medication, i.e. redness, rash or itching
  • Any problems or changes that concern you

How do I prevent blood clots after surgery?

Inactivity after surgery may cause the blood to slow and coagulate in the veins of your legs, creating blood clots. If a clot occurs, you may need to be admitted to the hospital to receive intravenous blood thinners. Prompt treatment usually prevents the more serious complication of pulmonary embolus (an unrecognized blood clot that can break away from the vein and travel to the lungs). Despite our conservative measures to prevent blood clots at the time of surgery, it is important to know the signs and symptoms to look out for in the post-operative period.

Signs of Blood Clots in the Legs:

  • Swelling in thigh, calf or ankle that does not go away with elevation
  • Pain, redness or tenderness in the calf

Signs of Pulmonary Embolus:

  • Confusion
  • Sudden Chest Pain
  • Difficult and/or rapid breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating

If you experience any of these symptoms, call your physician immediately.

When can I resume taking my medications?

It is important to ensure our office has a current and complete medication list on file for you. Please make sure your list is updated and notify us of any new or changing medications immediately. You may be instructed to stop some medications prior to surgery, so please check with your surgeon about when you may resume taking these medications.