Following your gastric band surgery you will have several incisions on your abdomen. They will vary in size and around we're your port-site is positioned will be the largest of the incisions. Your wounds can be closed using different methods – these include steri strips, surgical glue and sutures. You can be discharged with or without dressings depending on the status of your wounds and your surgeon.
A clean dry wound generally is a good sign that your wound is healing well. It is very important to look after your wounds after your surgery to minimise the risk of infection to the site. So following the advice your provider has instructed is paramount.
Initially, more often than not, you will have been advised to keep the area clean and dry, then normally around day 3-5 if your wounds remain dry you can have a quick shower. Do not apply soap direct to your wounds, you should apply the soap to your shoulder area and let the soapy water cascade over your abdomen, this will be enough to clean your wounds. Ideally you should use an antibacterial soap to minimise the risks of irritating your wounds also. Pat dry with a nice clean towel and redress if required.
If you have scabs in-situ or some scratchy surgical glue it maybe wise to cover these incisions over with a dressing to avoid them catching on your clothing and dislodging the scab or glue prematurely. Wounds should not be fully submerged until you are scab free and your scar line is smooth. You don't want to risk the chances of any micro-organisms burrowing and infecting the site.
Observe your wounds everyday, the status of a wound can change at anytime and it is so important that any concerning symptoms are treated swiftly and in the correct manor.
Concerning sign or symptoms to look out for include....
- Additional swelling/redness/pain to the site
- You might start to feel unwell
- Develop a raised temperature – above 38*c
- You develop a discharge/pus/smell from your wound
At the first sign of any of these symptoms you need to get into see your nurse urgently for an assessment – if there is an infection to the site it is best to be treated as early as possible especially if it is your port site wound as you don't want to run the risk of any infection spreading to your band.
Some health conditions can impact on the healing process, these include diabetes lymphedema, heart disease and high cholesterol – something to bare in mind. Also if you are a smoker you will have been advised to stop prior to your surgery due to the increased risks of infection and blood flow. It is important that you refrain from smoking after your surgery also as the harmful chemicals in cigarettes can effect the healing process and the nicotine may decrease the blood flow that can also compromise the healing.
Good nutrition is essential for healing. After your surgery you will be on fluids only, so it is essential that you make sure your fluids are high in vitamins and minerals, and that your are taking in sufficient amounts of protein. There are plenty of ideas in the articles in The Library written by our very own specialist dietitian Sue to help you out on this one.