The following is a list of general instructions for your care following repair of your lacerations. Please read them carefully several times, as most of your questions should be answered here. Carefully following these instructions should help you get the best results from the repair of your lacerations.
Facial trauma is a rough injury. More bruising and swelling should be expected than with elective surgery. The process of healing will also be more prolonged. Typically wounds require a full year before you can see the final result. We won’t critically evaluate your scar until you are a full year out.
- Go over the suture lines three times daily with hydrogen peroxide on a Q-tip. After this with a Q-tip apply a liberal amount of antibiotic ointment. Bacitracin is preferable, but Neosporin or polysporin are acceptable.
- You may shower the second day following your repair. Using a gentle shampoo such as Johnson’s Baby Shampoo is preferable.
- Be sure to report immediately any signs of bleeding that persist for more than ten minutes, infection, redness, fever, unusual drainage, or pain.
- Stitches, if present, will be removed the five to seven day after repair. Please contact our office to schedule this appointment.
- Try to eat a well balanced diet. You should supplement your diet with a multivitamin and take 500mg to 1000mg of vitamin C daily. If the trauma has caused wounds inside the mouth, please wash your mouth and gargle at least four times a day with hydrogen peroxide mixed half strength.
What to expect
Swelling will vary patient-to-patient. Swelling may actually increase the first three to four days before subsiding. Sleeping with your head elevated will help the swelling subside quicker. Placing cold ice packs or compresses on the injured areas is beneficial for the first forty-eight hours. If you experience increased tenderness, pain or fevers with this please contact our office.
Bruising will vary like swelling from person to person. Most bruising and discoloration should resolve over the first two weeks. Make up, with Dr. Hamilton’s permission, can be applied ten days to two weeks after repair.
There is normally less pain from facial trauma than one would expect from the appearance. Pain that you do have usually can be controlled with “extra strength” acetaminophen, two 500-mg. Tablets every 4 hours. Please do not take any aspirin or ibuprofen containing products.
- No strenuous exercise for at least two weeks.
- No heavy lifting for three weeks.
- No swimming for two weeks.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure for six weeks.
- Wear sunscreen over affected areas for the first year.
After a full year we will reevaluate your scar. At that time we may consider either a dermabrasion procedure to smooth your scar or scar revision to revise it. We will discuss these more fully at that time.
Mark M. Hamilton, M.D., F.A.C.S.