The advent of minimally invasive traditional laparoscopy and robotically assisted bariatric surgery has made wound care much easier for our patients. Just a few decades ago, you would have had a single large incision and all the pain, blood and risk of infection that goes along with it. While there is still a small risk of each of these complications, your incisions are tiny, measuring only about 5 to 10 mm. This reduces the risk of postoperative complications significantly.
Any puncture in the skin, however, has a risk of infection. This is particularly true if you have a compromised immune system or if you are in somewhat poor general health. As a result, it is critical that you follow the wound care procedures outlined in your postoperative packet. Just some of the important principles to remember include:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. Any time you or someone else handles your wound, be sure you/they wash hands. Typically, hand sanitizer is not enough. You can wash your hands with antibacterial soap for an extra punch. Make sure you also clean under your nails.
- When checking your wound, make sure you always use a new, sterile dressing or bandage as outlined by our practice.
- Do not use any creams or ointments, even if they are specifically made for wound care. It’s best to allow your wounds to heal normally. If your surgeon gives you the OK to use a certain cream or ointment, feel free to do so.
- Do not pick at any wound coverings, glue or stitches that you may have. Your surgeon will follow up at two weeks to ensure that the wounds are healing nicely. Until then, as best you can, leave them alone.
- You will be able to shower within a day or two after surgery. However, do not submerge your wounds in water, for example, in a bath or in a swimming pool. You will be given a specific OK by our staff for when that is appropriate and acceptable.
As you can see, wound care revolves around common sense, but with the excitement and lifestyle changes associated with bariatric surgery, we can sometimes forget. Of course, you should always be on the lookout for the signs of complications after your procedure, move ahead by reading about when to call us if you see the signs of a complication.