Do not manipulate the incisions until the first post-operative appointment (24 hours after surgery). The routine closure will have non-absorbable suture without an external dressing and a coat of antibiotic ointment. On occasion incisions will be closed with absorbable suture and covered via steri-strips. At the initial visit any post-operative dressing will be removed, so please bring a scarf with you for the trip home, as your hair will be disheveled. You may shower or wash over the steri-strips or exposed suture material. Do not bathe, or submerge, for at least 3 weeks after surgery. Be gentle and pat when applying soap, rinsing, and drying. After drying, steri-strip covered incisions do not need any more attention. After drying over incisions with exposed suture, apply a thin layer of triple antibiotic ointment. If present, when the edges of the steri-strips become frayed, trim them. With time, as very little is left behind, they may be removed (usually 2-4 weeks). In some cases additional tape will be used for removing tension from the suture line, or placing tissue in the desired position of healing. If such tape is present, it will be re-applied at the first office visit, and you will be shown how to do this on your own.
As a general rule, keeping the incisions clean and dry will result in the most aesthetically pleasing healed incision with minimal scarring. Do not allow scabs to accumulate, if present you may gently tease it off with peroxide soaked q-tip. While tending to the incision, watch for signs of problems as outlined below. It is not routine to have drains placed at the time of surgery, however, at times, if bleeding is diffuse, and cannot be addressed via surgical maneuvers (clipping, suturing, tying) it may be safer to leave behind a drain in attempting to prevent a hematoma (blood collection). If present, the drains will be removed within one to three days. If non-absorbable sutures were used, they will be removed 7 days after surgery. All incisions behind the hairline/scalp will have clips or suture removed 10-14 days from surgery. Do not expose incisions to the sun and/or tanning UV light for at least 1 year, however, you may begin tanning 4 weeks after surgery while keeping incisions covered. If sun exposure in unavoidable, use a product with SPF of at least 30. On the third day after surgery, discontinue gel pad application.