After plastic surgery or a cosmetic procedure such as breast augmentation of tummy tuck, showering can help keep your wound or incision area clean, as well as help you relax and rest while recovering. However, you should not shower immediately after surgery. It takes about 48 hours for an incision to close completely, so it is recommended that you wait at least 48 hours before showering. Showering too soon after surgery can cause your incision to re-open, inhibit the healing process, cause complications like infection, or worsen your surgical scars.
Try a Sponge Bath
If you would still like to stay clean in the days immediately following your surgery, you can try taking a sponge bath. Fill a sink or bucket with lukewarm water and gently sponge yourself with a soft cloth and a little bit of mild soap. Avoid cleaning around the incision area. You should also avoid washing your hair, as the stretching motions involved can re-open your incision. Ask a friend or family member to help you wash your hair until your incision is completely healed.
Stay Out of the Bathtub
You may shower 48 hours after surgery, but do not soak in a bathtub, hot tub, or pool. Soaking your wounds in water can expose them to bacteria and cause infection. You should not take baths for at least two weeks after surgery.
Your doctor will advise you on how to shower after your specific surgery or cosmetic procedure. These general guidelines can help you prepare for showering while you recover.
- Make it quick. Take quick showers to avoid healing complications. After surgery, you may feel faint after standing for long periods of time, so you should shower as quickly as possible. You may want to purchase a shower stool so that you can sit while showering, or ask a friend or family member to help you.
- Keep it cool. Do not use hot water, as this may cause inflammation. Instead, use lukewarm or cool water to bathe.
- Keep it dry. If you have a dressing, stitches, cast or clips, keep them out of the water, either by holding the area away from the water, or by covering it with a waterproof covering or plastic bag. If your doctor approves, you may want to completely remove your dressing or bandages before showering.
- Be gentle. Do not apply pressure or vigorously clean your incision area. Clean gently with soapy water on a soft cloth. Use antibacterial soap to help prevent infection, but avoid putting soap directly in the wound. Adjust the spray of the shower head to the gentlest setting, or keep your incision area away from the spray.
- Air dry. You may gently pat your incision area with a towel after a shower, but do not rub. Let the incision air dray to avoid re-opening the wound.
When to Call Your Doctor
Consult your doctor for specific instructions on when and how to shower after your surgery. If, after showering, you develop a fever or notice swelling, redness, discharge, or warmth in the incision area, contact your doctor immediately.
To schedule a plastic surgery consultation at the Dallas practice of Dr. Deuber, contact us today.