If you have chosen to undergo plastic surgery, one side effect you probably weren’t expecting during your recovery is the itchy feeling that occurs around the incision site and bandages. Although this feeling may come and go, it can be a source of aggravation in the days immediately following your surgery. While it is completely normal to experience this itchy sensation after plastic surgery, many patients want to know what they can do to reduce it. Here, Dr. Mark Deuber discusses this common recovery concern, and warns about the healing problems that can occur if patients don’t follow post-operative instructions for dealing with itchiness.
Rule Out Infection
You may want to check the incision site to make sure you have not developed an infection. Wash your hands, and then carefully remove the protective bandages to look for signs of a problem. If the incision looks significantly worse, is overly red and swollen, and oozing fluid, you may have developed an infection. If you suspect a problem, schedule a follow-up appointment with Dr. Deuber or your personal plastic surgeon as soon as possible.
Rule Out Allergic Reaction
Some patients are allergic to certain medications, adhesives, and medical tape. Make sure that you aren’t experiencing an allergic reaction to any of the new products you are using after surgery.
Do Not Touch the Incision
Avoid touching the incision area – you don’t want to increase your risk of infection or tear or pull at your sutures, as this can worsen the appearance of post-operative scars. If you can’t resist the urge to itch, try to very carefully rub the area around the incision, do not directly touch the incision with your hands.
During the body’s natural wound healing process, it produces histamines; this causes an itchy feeling at the site of the surgical incision. Using an oral anti-histamine such as Zyrtec or Benadryl can help to relieve some of this uncomfortable feeling. Of course, you should always call and check with Dr. Deuber or your plastic surgeon to find out if it is safe to take an anti-histamine medication.
Application of a Cold Compress
If the itching is severe, you can apply an ice pack to the area for quick relief. Try using the cold compress above the bandages to reduce the risk of infection.
Do Not Apply Anti-itch Cream Until the Incision Has Closed
Although it may be tempting to use an anti-itch cream soon after surgery, it is important to avoid use of any products, aside from anti-bacterial soap, until the incisions have completely closed. You should get the green light from Dr. Deuber or your personal plastic surgeon before starting use of an anti-itch cream.
Avoid Use of Alcohol
Use of alcohol can increase inflammation, which in turn increases swelling and itching, so patients should avoid drinking alcohol beverages in the weeks following plastic surgery.
If you are experiencing severe itching after your plastic surgery procedure with Dr. Deuber, contact our office for more information. Dr. Deuber may want you to come in for a follow-up appointment to rule out an allergic reaction or infection.