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In most cases, a clear (Tegaderm) dressing will have been placed over your incision. This is intended to be “maintenance free”, and does not need to be changed unless it becomes saturated. You can leave this original dressing on for anywhere from 2-7 days, then simply remove it.

If the dressing becomes saturated, you should remove it and apply some alternative dressing. Plain gauze dressing can be purchased from your pharmacy. Paper tape seems to be the best choice to secure it. If you need to change the original dressing, you may change your dressing once daily, or more often if needed. If there is continued oozing from the incision, call our office.


If you have any sort of infection which was drained or opened, your surgeon may have placed some packing gauze called iodoform. In this case, you will likely be instructed to change the dressing as needed, usually once daily. Be careful to avoid pulling the iodoform gauze out when the dressing is changed. If it does come out, that’s usually okay, and your surgeon can replace it at your follow-up visit if needed.

Your surgeon may give you some instructions on changing the packing at home as well.


If the original Tegaderm dressing stays intact, in most cases you may shower, and just let the water run off the dressing. Gently pat the dressing dry, and it should stay in place. If it does get wet, you may remove it. If there is still any drainage, simply apply an alternative dressing as described above.

If you have a different type of dressing which is not water resistant, you’ll need to keep it dry initially. Your surgeon should specify when you may shower.

 Pain medication:

Most office procedures do not cause much pain, and if you need something, usually an over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol, Aleve, Motrin, or similar product can be used. We discourage aspirin-containing products, as they can increase the possibility of oozing through the incision. But if you are on aspirin on a regular basis because of underlying heart disease, in most cases you can continue this. Your surgeon may have given you a prescription for something stronger if he thinks it might be necessary, and you can use this according to the instructions. You should not take more than 12 Tylenol or acetaminophen pills in any 24-hour period. Be aware that some prescription medications also include acetaminophen.


Depending on where your incision is, you may or may not resume usual activities. Common sense will go a long way in making your own decisions about specific activities. If an incision is near a joint, such as your shoulder, you should limit the motion of that joint. This will help decrease any pain you might have, and will facilitate proper healing.

Some swelling, redness, and pain are common with all wounds and normally will go away as the wound heals. If swelling, redness, or pain increases f the wound feels warm to the touch, or if the wound edges reopen or separate, call our office at 404 508-4320.

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