This is my general wound care protocol and should be adhered to, unless I specify otherwise.
- Please do not wet the dressing or the surrounding area for at 3-5 days. It is unnecessary to remove any dressings before this time unless they are heavily soiled. A small amount of blood or tissue fluid within the dressing is normal and not harmful. Please contact the office if you are concerned.
- I usually remove the dressings at the first follow up. Please bring ALL your discharge dressings to any wound check-up to avoid additional consumable fees. If you are concerned about your wound in any way, please phone to make an appointment with the nursing sister for a wound check. Unless there are specific reasons, you should follow the advice below. I usually see patients again at 6 weeks post-surgery.
- If you are going to be removing your own dressings, it is helpful to soak the dressings in a shower rather than a bath. Unless specified, the wound may be gently washed with ordinary soap and water. No specific antibacterial agents are recommended as many are harmful to normal wound healing. A clean towel may be used to gently dry the area.
- For further wound dressing, please apply Micropore tape (medical adhesive paper tape) to the wound, completely covering the suture line. The tape should be applied parallel to the wound. Occasionally, the micropore tape is strongly adhesive and does not easily come off, even when wet. Do not be overly concerned by this, it is acceptable to leave it on for 2-5 days. Non-adherent tape should be removed and replaced.
- If you are going to be using a topical scar management gel, the first application should be delayed until day 5. I usually recommend Scar Science or RegimA. Wait until the tape is well adhered (usually a few minutes) and then apply the gel on top of the tape. It will sink into the tape and onto the wound surface, as the tape is porous. A suitable amount is one drop per 3 cm of scar. The entire tape does not have to be soaked in the gel – only the area directly in contact with the wound. You only need to apply more gel if you change the tape.
- You will need to keep the wound covered with tape as specified above for at least 3 weeks on the face and 6 weeks on all other areas. After this time, you may apply the scar management gel or other wound healing aid directly on the wound surface. Vitamin E cream is NOT recommended as there is scientific evidence that it negatively affects scarring. Most topical scar regimes recommend treatment for 3-6 months.
- Once you are no longer applying tape to the wound, it is very important to keep the wound out of direct sunlight and to use a high factor sunblock every day (SPF 30 or more) during this time. I usually recommend Heliocare. Tanning beds are absolutely forbidden. Sunblock may be applied on top of the scar management gel. During this time you may assist the scar by massaging it. Scar massage is done in small circular movements with the pulp of a finger. The correct amount of pressure is that which just causes your fingernail to change colour – which is quite light pressure.
Unless specifically indicated, it is generally unwise to perform any surgery to the same area for a period of at least 12 weeks. Moreover, for scar revision specifically, it is usually better to wait for 6 months or even 12 months before surgically revising a scar. In certain cases, up to 24 months may even be applicable.