As seen in the image, I received a text message from a patient the morning after her surgery. She underwent a Brazilian Butt Lift and Tummy Tuck. In the text message, she’s thanking me after getting out of the shower. It was the first time she was able to look in the mirror and was happy with her results. This highlights and contradicts two myths regarding surgery. First, that you should not get your incisions wet for some unspecified period of time. And second, that it’s impossible to contact your doctor after surgery!
Myths after surgery: Don’t get your incisions wet!
How many times have you been told not to get your incisions wet?! And while I’m only speaking on behalf of me and my patients, what is so terrible about getting incisions wet? If you don’t get them wet, does that mean it’s better to allow them to get sweaty and grimy after several days of not bathing?!
I think getting incisions wet can be a good thing in the right circumstances. For example, we tell our patients to shower the night after their surgery, as in, later that day. Specifically, we recommend showering and letting antibacterial soap and water run over the incisions. This keeps them clean and washes away any drainage or “sitting” grime. While we’re big fans of showers, we don’t want patients taking baths initially. Compare the two. Showers allow bacteria to wash off the patient. Baths on the other hand result in patients submerging and soaking in their own dirty water! Big difference in which one contributes to infection.
Myths after surgery: You can’t reach your doctor
Since I began practicing, I call our cosmetic patients after surgery. In the process of calling them, they can see my number. That way, they can reach me if necessary. After surgery, patients are scared and don’t always know what to expect.
So I say it’s better for them to have the doctor’s number to reach out for any concerns. Could that be painful with patients calling all the time? I guess it’s possible but most patients don’t call, they text. And thus far, they are respectful of not over-texting. An open line of communication avoids a lot of problems. Because if a patient can’t reach the doctor, they’re more likely to go to the ER. Which is a huge waste of time and money.
Consider the options. Responding to a simple text and allaying a patient’s concerns. Or allowing things to escalate wherein they go to the ER. Then the ER calls you and you have go in to the ER and address an unnecessarily overblown issue that could have been addressed via text. It’s a no brainer.
So when considering who you choose as your doctor, ask if you’ll have easy access to them after surgery. Or will you have to go through multiple layers of bureaucracy… the last thing you want to do while recovering from surgery!