This is a plastic surgeon’s perspective on wound care and cleaning your incisions. We are going to discuss how to clean your incisions after any surgical procedure where an incision is required suggested by Dr. Brian Evans MD a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. The key for healing is to remove all crusting and to start with an incision that has the skin edges as close as possible together, which is partly up to your surgeon. The crusting is very important to remove because the crusts can be nourishment for bacteria that can proliferate and cause more scarring. They do so because bacterial overgrowth can extend the healing process.
The longer the healing process takes the more scarring. Dr. Brian Evans usually suggests to his patients that they use vinegar and distilled water in a 1:3 dilution to clean the incisions. Stronger dilutions with less water will make it sting more. He tells people to do this twice a day. But, you should do this for at least once a day. Sometimes it takes more than 2 times a day if there are a lot of crusts. If the crusting continues you may need to see your doctor. The goal is to get there incision to look like a fine wrinkle and as clean as possible. If they keep doing this during the first 2 weeks the incision has the potential to heal incredibly.
Always have vaseline over the incisions at all times. It has been scientifically shown that skin cells grow faster when they have two surfaces to grow on. The vaseline serves as the other surface and this promotes the healing. You want the skin cells to grow over the incision as fast as possible. This reduces the scarring and decreases the healing time. Some people advocate hydrogen peroxide for cleaning. Dr. Brian would caution that the use of this can be risky. He uses the same dilution with hydrogen peroxide and distilled water in a 1:3 dilution. The important thing to remember with the use of hydrogen peroxide, if you are going to take the risk, is to use it sparingly. You just want to use it to take the crusting off and then stop. If you do this more than that you can have more scarring. So being conservative is very important. If in doubt don’t use the hydrogen peroxide due to the risk. And if you do use it, do so for only the first week and that is it.
During your care for your wound / incision, you should continue to clean your incision for about the first two weeks and keep vaseline on the incision at all times. After this you can do regular skin care and use sunscreen during the day (approximately 12 hours) and then silicone gel during the evening for 12 hours. The silicone gel can be found at any pharmacy or drugstore, like Bartells or Safeway pharmacy. Dr. Brian would do the silicone gel for the next 3 months and it wouldn’t hurt to do it for the first 6 months. Silicone gel is one of the only things that have statistically shown to make a difference in preventing scarring. Vitamin E, Aloevera, Mederma based on my knowledge and recent literature search (05 / 2010) does not make a scientific difference. Following up with your doctor is really important to do, so that they can make sure that you are on the way to healing the right way!
Wound care and the process of cleaning your incisions after a procedure is extremely important to the end results of your incision. Although a surgeon can put together your incisions as perfectly as possible, the after care can determine the ultimate outcome. Plastic Surgery and plastic surgeons are ideal at making these incisions turn out the best that they can be.
Dr. Brian Evans is a plastic surgeon in West Hills, California and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center and San Joaquin Community Hospital. He received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.
Dr. Brian Evans MD aims to increase the confidence of patients and to improve their appearance by performing procedures of a high standard. A thorough first consultation is scheduled to understand the requirements of patients before procedures are performed. Services provided by Dr. Brian Evans Plastic Surgery Clinic include the surgical reshaping or augmentation of facial features and breasts, surgical body sculpting procedures, stem cell therapy, surgery for skin cancer and wound care surgery.
Call (818) 676-4001 for free consultation today!
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