Wound care after surgery can take a toll on a person! To ensure the best results while you are choosing plastic surgery to alter your looks, or having reconstruction done because of breast cancer, a good outcome comes from knowing how to take care of yourself before and after your procedure. The better you prepare – the better your exit will be!
Keep in mind that about 1 in 100 wounds will become infected after surgery no matter what you or your doctor does. We will look at ways to make sure you are not that one.
Your wound care after surgery actually starts weeks ahead of time in getting your body ready.
To prepare your body for your surgery start a few weeks ahead of time in getting good nutrition, properly hydrated and plenty of rest and good exercise. Think of this as an athletic event you are getting ready for.
Being in good physical shape helps your body heal faster because good circulation is vital to getting blood, oxygen and nutrients to the surgical area.
Your skin is the largest organ of the body – and the thinnest. Only 1/10 of an inch separates you from all sorts of toxins. The skin is also highly permeable – what goes on your skin can get in your blood stream. You need to be good to your skin and prepare your skin for the incoming incision or damage that is going to happen. When the skin gets what it needs; vitamins, minerals, proteins and nutrients, it can do what it does best – heal itself.
You need to make wise eating choices, and drink plenty of water. Your diet should include healthy proteins which are building blocks for cells, vitamin C and zinc which are known to promote wound healing. Lots of fresh green vegetables will also help speed up the recovery process. Eliminating processed sugars and carbonated beverages also helps the body mend quicker.
Being in good physical shape will help speed up your recovery as well. This does not necessarily mean go join a gym and go crazy – simply get your body moving. You will do yourself a favor to take a 30 to 40 minute walk each day just to get your blood moving.
Staying properly hydrated helps a body heal better as well. There is a simple way to know how much water is the right amount for you to be drinking daily. You need half your body weight in ounces. For example; if you weigh 150 pounds you should drink half that in ounces: 75 ounces of water daily. That will help flush toxins out of your system and help your skin heal where the incision is going to be.
Lack of sleep takes a toll on your immune system. Try to get a good 7 – 8 hours or more of sleep per night in the weeks leading up to your surgery. Naps are a good thing when needed as well.
Do I really need to say how harmful smoking is to your health and healing process? And please – no alcoholic beverages for a few weeks before at best, and at the least for one week prior to your surgery. Then be kind to your body and refrain for a few weeks after as well.
Afterwards, your healing is helped by continuing to drink plenty of water and getting your needed sleep. Get up and about as soon as possible – the body mends better when the blood is flowing and circulating. Talk with your doctor about what you can and can not do.
If the skin around the wound becomes red, swollen and painful you may have an infection. Call your doctor.
In healthy patients following the wound care after surgery, most wounds heal within two weeks. If you have health problems such as diabetes or a weakened immune system, or are on certain drugs, such as stereoids or chemotherapy drugs your healing will probably take longer.
Wounds on the face usually take one to two weeks to heal. Wounds on the arms, trunk and upper legs take about three weeks. Wounds on the lower legs, especially in people over forty, can take up to 3 months to heal.