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How to Take Care of your Incision after Surgery

Proper care for your surgical incisions after surgery is a critical part of your postsurgical care and will certainly go a long way in ensuring a positive surgical outcome. It helps prevent infection or other complications and speeds up your recovery. Here’s how to take care of your incision after the surgery.

After a joint replacement surgery, you will have an incision that is 4-6 inches long where your joint was replaced. Immediately following the surgery, your incision will be covered with a postoperative dressing. The surgical team will remove the dressing and replace it as needed if there is any drainage from the incision. Your surgical incision will stay covered and clean for the duration of your hospital stay.

You will be ready for discharge when you can walk independently with an assistive device, are able to go up and down stairs, exhibit control over your pain, your vital signs and labs are stable, and physical therapy services if required have been set up for you. Upon discharge you will be given prescriptions for all your new medications as well as detailed discharge instructions.

The postoperative dressing must be maintained in place for 7 days from the date of surgery. if there is no drainage from the incision site, the dressing will be removed after 7 days. Once the dressing is no longer needed, you should keep your incision clean at home.

You will be given instructions on when you are able to shower after surgery. When showering let soap and water run over your incision, but do not apply any lotions, creams, or powders to the incision. When you get out of the shower, gently pat the incision with a clean towel. Do not leave the incision wet. The incision should not be soaked in water. This means no tub baths until the incision is completely healed, which will be about 4 weeks after surgery. This also means no hot tubs or swimming until your doctor says it’s okay.

Once you are at home it is important to look at your incision every day for signs and symptoms of infection. This includes a temperature over 101.4 degrees Fahrenheit or an increase in redness, swelling, drainage, or pain at the surgical site. Please call Dr. Jacob if any of these signs occur or if the dressing comes off before 7 days.

Dr. Jacob will discuss wound instructions with you and your family before you are discharged and allow you time to ask any questions you may have.

Dr. Jacob brings cutting edge techniques and technology to the Oklahoma City area. He has extensive training in minimally invasive, rapid recovery joint replacement as well as robotically assisted hip and knee replacement. Dr. Jacob is a pioneer in outpatient joint replacement allowing some patient to go home the same day as their procedure and recover in the comfort of their own home. The cornerstone of Dr. Jacob’s practice is to have the recovery process be easier, faster and less painful allowing his patients to get back into the game of life. Dr. Jacob is committed to bringing the highest level of orthopedic care while treating each and every patient like a family member. Providing you with patient centered care you can trust.

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