MidAmerica Plastic Surgery: Ryan Diederich, MD
4955 South State Route 159 #1
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
MAPS: (618) 288-7855
SPA: (618) 307-6233

Monday & Wednesday: 7 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Tuesday & Thursday: 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m.–12 p.m.

Post-Surgery Information

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When you undergo a plastic surgery procedure at our Maryville, IL, practice, you’ll receive exceptional care before, during, and after. Prior to your surgery, Dr. Ryan Diederich provides detailed after-care instructions, including information about taking care of your incision(s), dressings, and surgical drains, if needed. Additionally, you can call us anytime at (618) 288-7855 with questions.

Please use the information on this page during your recovery to help reduce the chances of complications and to enhance the healing process.

Suture Care

  • Keeping incisions clean and dry is important during the initial recovery stage.
  • If your sutures are bandaged, keep them bandaged for 24 to 48 hours.
  • Keep your sutures dry and clean during the first 24 to 48 hours.
  • Avoid bumping or hitting the area so it doesn’t re-open.
  • Do not trim or shorten the ends of your sutures.
  • Do not submerge the wound for 10 to 14 days in dirty water, such as pools, hot tub, or dishwater.

Cleaning the incision site (after 24 to 48 hours)

  • Remove and leave off any bandage.
  • Use soap and water and gently clean your wound as directed to keep it free from germs.

Help your wound heal

  • Limit stretching the areas around your wound to help prevent bleeding and swelling of the wound area.
  • If your wound is on your arm or leg, raise the wound higher than the level of your heart. This will help decrease pain and swelling.

If your wound bleeds (a light drainage is common for 24 to 48 hours)

  • Apply continuous direct pressure using 1 or 2 fingers on the site that is bleeding for 5 to 10 minutes. Do NOT remove pressure to look during this period.
  • If bleeding persists call our office. If it is severe, go to your local emergency room or dial 911.

When to contact us

  • If you have increasing pain in the wound area
  • If you have questions or concerns about your condition or care
  • If you have swelling or redness around the wound
  • If the wound opens up

Limiting the appearance of scars

  • Apply sunscreen daily after Dr. Diederich removes the sutures. Avoid sun exposure as much as possible and re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours or after getting wet. Sunlight may darken the wound and make it more visible. Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or more during the first year of healing.
  • Massage your scar using ointment about 4 to 6 weeks after the surgery. Always wash your hands with soap and water before applying ointment to your fingertips. Rub the ointment over your forming scar, using firm pressure. Use circular movements and straight-line movements to increase circulation in the area of your scar. Repeat your massages 3 to 4 times daily.
  • Applying silicone sheeting 23 hours per day may improve any scar that is elevated.

Changing Dressings

Follow these steps to remove your dressing:

  • Wash your hands before and after each dressing change.
  • Carefully remove the tape.
  • Remove the old dressing. If it is sticking to your skin, wet it with warm (not hot) water to loosen it.
  • Remove the gauze pads or packing tape from inside your wound.

Cleaning your wound:

  • Use a soft washcloth to gently clean your wound with warm water and soap. Your wound should not bleed much when you are cleaning it, but a small amount of blood is okay. Rinse your wound with water and gently pat it dry with a clean towel. Do not rub it dry. You may choose to do this in the shower.

Check the wound for:

  • Increased redness or swelling
  • Foul odor
  • Drainage
  • Color of drainage.

Changing your dressing:

  • Pour saline into a clean bowl. Place gauze pads and any packing tape you will use in the bowl.
  • Squeeze the saline from the gauze pads or packing tape until wet but no longer dripping.
  • Place the gauze or packing tape in your wound. Carefully fill in the wound and any spaces under the skin. Do not let the wet gauze or packing touch any healed skin.
  • Cover the wet gauze with a large dry dressing pad. Use tape or rolled gauze to hold this dressing in place.
  • Wash your hands when done.

When to call your doctor:

  • Worsening or more redness
  • More pain
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Wound is larger or deeper, wound looks dried out or dark, drainage has increased, the drainage has a bad smell

Drain Management

What is a surgical drain?

A drain is a tube placed into an area to help drain fluid. Drains are connected to a drainage collection device such as a bulb (some refer to this as a grenade), an accordion collection system, or simply a bag. The collection devices collect fluid from the drainage tube by gravity drainage or by creating a “negative pressure” system. In the negative pressure system, the bulb or accordion actually “sucks” fluid out through the drain.

Why is the drain needed?

Surgical drains remove fluid to prevent it from accumulating. Drains are temporary, but will need to remain in place until the fluid is no longer a problem.

How do I take care of the drain at home?

It’s important to learning what to expect from your drain and how it empties. The fluid’s appearance depends on what’s being drained. Fluid is typically clear, straw colored, yellow, or cranberry colored. Some specks of blood are not unusual, and fluctuations in color are normal.

Dr. Diederich sutures the drain in place to keep it from falling out or being accidentally pulled out. Your drain will be most comfortable if you keep it secured to your clothing so that it does not pull on your skin. A safety pin can be used to secure the drain to your clothing, but be sure not to place the pin through the drainage tube or collection device. Most collection devices have a place specifically designed for securing them.

May I shower?

Not all patients can shower with a drain or drains in place. Check with Dr. Diederich or a nurse before showering.

How do I empty the drain bulb?

Wash your hands with soap and water prior to emptying your drain and then unpin it from your clothing. Open the top of the drain, then turn the bulb upside down over a measuring cup. Gently squeeze out the fluid, being sure to avoid letting the stopper or top of the bottle touch the measuring cup (or any other surface.)

Write how much fluid drained (using cubic centimeters or milliliters). If you have more than 1 drain record each amount separately.

Squeeze the middle of the bulb, and while keeping it squeezed, replace the drainage plug. It is important to keep it squeezed during this process, as this is what creates the suction for the drain. “Milk” or “strip” the drain tube each time you empty the bulb.

Pin the drain back to your clothing, and then flush the drainage fluid in the toilet. Empty the bulb anytime it becomes about half full or loses suction, but make sure to do this at least 3 times a day.

How do I “milk” or “strip” my drain?

  • Wash your hands with soap and water prior to handling your drain.
  • With one hand firmly hold the drain near at the insertion site (close to the skin); this will prevent the drain from being pulled out during the process.
  • Using the thumb and index finger of the other hand, pinch or squeeze the tubing.
  • While squeezing, slide your thumb and index finger down the drain towards the collection bulb towards the bulb (away from the skin). Do not release the pinching on the drainage tube until you have “stripped” or “milked” the drain all the way to the bulb.
  • Do this at least 4 times per day and every time you empty the drain.

When do I call the office?

  • If you develop increased pain or a spreading redness at the drain site
  • If drainage in the bulb looks like pus
  • If you have active bleeding
  • If you have a temperature of 100.5 °F or higher
  • If the drain quits draining
  • If the drain falls out

At MidAmerica Plastic Surgery, we are here for you every step of the way. Do not hesitate to call us at (618) 288-7855 if you don’t find answers to your questions here.