Showering Instructions for Plastic Surgery Patients
By Peter Brownrigg on September 13, 2018
Proper hygiene is essential for proper surgical recovery. That’s why our Ottawa, ON plastic surgery center gives patients detailed pre-op and post-op instructions. We want to make sure the risk of infection and other complications is as low as possible, and that means helping patients understand the importance of preparation and recovery, whether they undergo body contouring after major weight loss or facial plastic surgery to remove unwanted lines and wrinkles.
This brings us to the most basic concern before and after surgery: showering. It seems so simple, but there are specific instructions for showering before and after plastic surgery procedures. Dr. Peter Brownrigg and his team cover some of the basics below.
Showering Before Plastic Surgery
It’s important that you shower thoroughly the night before and the morning of your plastic surgery procedure. Use soap and warm water, and really work up a lather and scrub gently yet thoroughly. You may be asked to use a specific kind of antibacterial soap just to help limit the risk of infection going into the procedure.
After your showers, be sure to avoid applying lotion, creams, perfumes, cologne, or makeup. All of these substances can increase the risk of infection and other surgical complications.
Why You Should Wait to Shower After Surgery
Taking a shower too soon after plastic surgery poses a number of dangers. For one, getting the surgical area wet can lead to irritation as well as a higher risk of infection. Additionally, the warmth and steam from the shower itself can result in inflammation, which can negatively impact wound healing.
The stream of water from the shower head can also pose a risk to your incision site. Even gentle water can affect sutures and staples, possibly reopening the incision.
Stay Clean with Sponge Baths as You Heal
To prevent complications and remain sanitary, sponge baths are your best option for cleaning up for the first two or more days after surgery. Be sure to use a damp washcloth with lukewarm water when cleaning yourself.
Avoid rubbing or scrubbing the surgical area as this can aggravate the healing incision. Patients who have undergone facial plastic surgery must be careful when pulling or tugging their hair since this can affect incision sites.
Your First Shower After Plastic Surgery
Many patients should be able to return to the shower about 48 to 72 hours after their procedure. However, their first few showers after surgery will be modified to prevent infection. It will be a while before you can take a normal shower again.
Tips for Your First Showers After Plastic Surgery
When taking your initial showers after surgery, follow these guidelines.
- Keep Surgical Areas Dry - Cover incisions sites and the surgical area from direct water exposure as directed by your surgeon. You must keep this part of your body dry.
- Use Lukewarm Water - Avoid inflammation by using lukewarm water only.
- Use the Gentle Shower Settings - If you have an adjustable shower head, use the gentlest water setting to prevent disturbing surgical incisions and healing tissue.
- Shower Briefly - Keep these first showers brief to avoid inflammation and to keep the surgical area(s) dry.
- Pat Yourself Dry - After your brief shower, pat your body dry gently. Do not rub vigorously with a towel. Let the air do the rest of the drying for you.
When Can I Shower Normally Again?
This will vary from patients to patient depending on their surgery and progress in recovery. It could be up to a week or more. Be sure to discuss this with your surgeon and follow their orders.
When Can I Take a Bath Again?
Most patients will be able to take a bath about two weeks after surgery, though there may be special instructions or restrictions to consider. Again, be sure to discuss this with your surgeon and follow their advice.
Learn More About Healing After Plastic Surgery
To learn more about recovery from plastic surgery and how we can help you achieve all of your cosmetic goals, be sure to contact our cosmetic plastic surgery center. Dr. Peter Brownrigg and his team will be happy to answer your questions and address your concerns. You can reach our office by phone at (613) 724-1214 or (866) 424-3455.
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