Once you return home from surgery, it’s imperative that you closely follow your doctor's directions to properly care for the surgical site. The guidelines below are general instructions given to most patients, but be sure to only explicitly follow the instructions provided by your doctor or surgeon. If you’re curious about what you may expect after surgery, keep on reading.
Your bandage should be changed every 24 hours, and you should clean your wound every time you take off the bandage. Your doctor will give you directions on how to clean your wound. No matter what, do not soak the area or scrub the incision area, as doing so can reopen the wound. Gentle washing with pre-approved mild soaps is permissible.
To wash the wound:
Your wound should stay dry and clean for the first 24 hours after surgery. Avoid showering for 24 hours after you return home. If your bandage does get wet, change it or blot it dry. Some wounds are covered by skin glue and do not require changing.
After the first 24 hours, it’s not a big deal if your incision gets splashed while showering. However, you should only take showers, as baths will soak your incision and risk it reopening.
Proper wound care is highly effective at preventing infections, but prevention isn’t guaranteed. Call your doctor or surgeon if you are experiencing an abnormal amount of any of the following signs or symptoms:
To prevent unnecessary pain and discomfort, avoid heavy lifting. The maximum amount you can safely lift after abdominal surgery is 15 pounds of weight for the first two weeks. For the two following weeks, you can lift at most 25 pounds. Your doctor may give you different instructions based on your surgery and requirements.
Unless otherwise instructed, avoid aspirin or any anti-inflammatory medications as they are blood thinners and may increase your risk of bleeding from the incision site during surgery or while in recovery. Stop taking the medication 10 days before surgery.
Follow the guidelines provided by your doctor or surgeon as your abdominal surgery approaches to ensure an easier recovery and successful wound care post-surgery. Some of the key steps for your surgery, such as fasting for a certain period beforehand and avoiding blood thinners, may start before you walk into the hospital.
If you won’t be recovering alone, you should familiarize your caretakers – perhaps a loved one or a professional home aid – with the above wound care rules. This way, you and your caretaker can start working toward a smooth recovery even before surgery begins. Lastly, go to all follow-up appointments to avoid unnecessary wound complications – you might think you’re doing great, but only a doctor can tell you what’s really going on below the surface.
Dr. Franklin joined the medical staff at Piedmont Fayette Hospital in January 2011. He was previously in private practice in Gadsden, Alabama for over five years. He is board certified in general surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
His practice includes the full range of General Surgery – hernia, colon resection, gallbladder surgery, and other diseases of the intestines and abdominal organs. He also does surgery on the thyroid, parathyroids, and skin. He has had a distinguished career in laparoscopic and robotic surgery. While in Alabama, he was the first surgeon in the state to complete a gallbladder removal with the da Vinci robot. After moving back to Georgia, he is the first surgeon in the Piedmont health system to complete gallbladder removal with the da Vinci robot, and also the first ever utilizing a single incision in the umbilicus. He is one of a very few surgeons in the US utilizing this technique. He has been involved in laparoscopic surgery for 20 years and over 12 years robotically.
He has published and given numerous presentations to include topics of advanced laparoscopic procedures, cellular behavior of cancers, trauma, multiple sclerosis, and intravascular ultrasound. He has most recently served as chairman of the department Surgery at Piedmont Fayette. He now serves on the medical executive committee and utilization review committee. He also is involved in research projects in the US and internationally.
Dr. Franklin believes that to plan the best possible operation, the surgeon must understand and listen to the patient. He can then plan and educate the patient in regards to their forward progress. He understands that operations are not without risk, and the patient must understand those risks along with its benefits, and the alternatives to treatment.Make an apppointment