James A. Rieger MD -Board Certified Plastic Surgeon -Wichita,Hutchinson,Salina,Newton,Garden City,Dodge City Kansas

Minor Surgery Pre and Post Op Instructions                         


This handout provides information on how to prepare for your operation and what to expect as you are healing after your operation. Please call, the office, (24 hours/day) if you have ANY problems or questions that concern you. When the office is closed the phone will forward after several rings to an answering service. If the phone does not forward you may contact the answering service directly at 316-262-6262. If you need immediate attention, or for some reason you are unable to contact me, call 911 or go to the emergency room nearest your home.

These are some guidelines to help you during your recovery. They are not meant to be all inclusive and you should call the office if you have additional questions or concerns.


Do not take products containing aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Vitamin E or red wine for 2 weeks prior or for 2 weeks after your operation. Many medications contain these compounds which are known to prolong bleeding. It is safest to take only Tylenol® for aches and pains prior to your operation.

Smoking, nicotine gum/patch and second hand smoke may interfere with  healing and may cause skin loss, soft tissue loss or wounds.  It is good if you can stop smoking at least 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after surgery. Completely quitting smoking is of course always recommended for your good health.

To be safe discontinue all herbals including green teas. Do not stop your regularly prescribed medications including heart and circulation medications on your own. Check with your pharmacist and your physician before you stop taking any medications. You may take Tylenol for headaches. You may take your regular multivitamins tablets.

Female Patient Information- Many medications including antibiotics may neutralize the preventive effect of birth control pills, allowing for conception and pregnancy.

Minor Surgery Instructions

·         If antibiotics are prescribed, take your full prescription as directed.

·         Discomfort is usually relieved with Tylenol. If a stronger medication is prescribed, follow directions carefully.

·         Do not drink alcohol when taking pain medications.

·         Swimming may be resumed one week after the sutures are removed.

Incision Care

·         Keep the wound and sutures dry for 24 hours, unless advised otherwise.

·         After 24 hours, wash the area daily with soap and water, unless instructed otherwise. Avoid soaking the area while sutures are in place.

·         The suture line should be cleaned frequently to prevent crust formation and infection. You may use a cotton-tipped applicator and half strength hydrogen peroxide. Put Bacitracin ointment over the incision and sutures. A thin layer of ointment will be necessary.

·         Baths may be resumed one week after the sutures are removed.

·         Inspect incisions daily for signs of infection.

What to expect after surgery


• It is normal to have some pain after minor surgery. Your pain should gradually get better day by day. You may take Tylenol as directed on the product label. You may be prescribed a pain medication.

• Prescription pain pills can have some side effects :Drowsiness: do not drive or operate machinery, Nausea or vomiting: try taking your pain pills with food, Constipation: try over-the-counter fiber supplements or mild laxatives (ask the pharmacist for help if you need it)


• If a Local anesthetic injected during your operation to help with pain control. This medication may cause numbness for up to 4 or 5 hours.


• It is normal to have some swelling and bruising after surgery. Swelling begins immediately after surgery and may increase during the first few days. Too much swelling can cause increased pain and throbbing. Elevation is used to control swelling. Keep the operative site elevated as much as possible for the first three days.  If your surgery was on the face, neck, or scalp, sleep with an extra pillow under your head for a few days to help with this. Avoid strenuous exercise, straining, or heavy lifting for at least 3 days: this raises your blood pressure and can lead to increased bruising.

Post op instructions


• Dressings are designed to protect the surgery site from infection and provide support while you begin to heal. Follow the below instructions depending on the type of dressing.


Steri-Strips™ look like tape, and they are stuck right over the stitches. Do not remove them. If you prefer to cover them, use a light gauze dressing. You may get them wet, but do not soak or scrub them. They will be removed at your next appointment. If they become loose early or fall off, please call the clinic for additional instructions.


You should keep a light coating of Bacitracin antibiotic ointment on the sutures or staples themselves. This should be applied three times a day, including after showering, to keep the sutures or staples protected. Apply only a light coating.


At home you can minimize the potential for a rare blood clot in the leg by walking once you arrive at home. You and your family should make sure that you get up as much as possible and return to daily activities (nothing strenuous) as quickly as possible. When resting regularly change leg position, and periodically move and stretch your legs and feet. Avoid crossing the legs. While resting in bed flex the knees very slightly by placing a low soft pillow underneath them. Stay hydrated. Wear loose fitting clothes. For the first month after surgery avoid long travel trips. Traveling while confined to tight spaces where you are unable to walk frequently and move your legs may increase the risk of blood clots. When traveling get out of the car and walk around a convenience store for a few minutes at least every half hour. When flying get up and walk the aisle to the restroom as often as possible.

• IT IS OK TO SHOWER IN 24 HOURS. Do not soak or scrub your incision. Simply wash the area lightly with mild soap or shampoo, rinse, and then gently pat it dry.

• ACTIVITY RESTRICTIONS: No strenuous/aerobic exercise for 3 days ; No activities that “pull” on the incision or irritate the stitches; No heavy lifting or straining for 3 days

• Other _______________________________________

When to Call

·         If you have increased swelling or bruising.

·         If swelling and redness persist after a few days.

·         If you have increased redness along the incision.

·         If you have severe or increased pain not relieved by medication.

·         If you have any side effects to medications; such as, rash, nausea, headache, vomiting.

·         If you have an oral temperature over 100.4 degrees.

·         If you have any yellowish or greenish drainage from the incisions or notice a foul odor.

·         If you have bleeding from the incisions that is difficult to control with light pressure.

·         If you have loss of feeling or motion.

·         Signs of blood clot in leg (any of these) - pain, tenderness, swelling, or color changes in leg or calf – Call immediately or call 911 or go to the   ER.

·         Signs of blood clot in the lung (any of these) - difficulty breathing, coughing, coughing up blood, anxiety, inabilty to sleep, or chest pain – Call immediately or call 911 or go to the ER.


For Medical Questions, Please Call