Skip to main content

Post-op Instructions

Daily Care:

  • Leave the dressing in place for 24 hours.
  • Remove the dressing. If the dressing tends to stick, you may remove it while in the bath or shower.
  • Gently wash the area with antibacterial soap (Dial liquid soap) and water.

If you do NOT have steri-strips

After washing & drying the site, apply a small amount of Aquaphor/ Petrolatum/ 2% Mupirocin ointment & apply a fresh band-aid every day for a week.

If you DO have steri-strips:

Wash the site even with the steri-strips on, to prevent an infection. The strips typically fall off within the first few days. Once the strips fall off you can start applying Aquaphor to the wound & cover with Band-Aid as needed.

If you have dermabond

Wash the site daily until the glue falls off. The glue typically falls off within a week. Once glue falls off, apply Aquaphor to site daily for a week.

  • Do not apply Aquaphor for more than 2 weeks after surgery as it can cause clogged pores and acne pimples in the scar.
  • If you have any bleeding from the surgical site, use a clean washcloth and apply steady pressure to the area for 20 minutes without peeking to see if it has stopped.
  • You may experience some pain for the first 2 days after the procedure. Take 1-2 tablets of Tylenol or Acetaminophen every 4-6 hours as needed.
  • Please call our office if the pain progressively worsens after 2 days, or if there is increased swelling or fever, or any other unusual occurrence.
  • You may experience a pustule or pimple at 4-6 weeks in the scar as they are prone to clogged pores. Typically, this will resolve on its own.

Scar Care

We recommend 2 weeks following your surgery, you start using a topical scar therapy with silicone gel. Silicone gel sheets have been found to be the most effective for scar remodeling based on studies conducted and published.

Cicacare Sheet: $45
Directions: apply silicone gel sheets to your scar for 8-12 hours/day for 3 months starting 2 weeks after your surgery.

Pathology results are available within 2 weeks. If you haven’t heard from our office after 10 business days from your procedure, please call our office for your results.

Recipient site (Where the skin graft was applied)

  • After the initial dressing is removed*, you may wash the skin graft gently with soap and water twice a day. You may wash the wound in the shower. Avoid having the shower water hitting the skin graft directly. The water may run over the skin graft.
  • Dry the wound with surgical gauze or a clean washcloth. For the first week, apply a light layer of bacitracin or Aquaphor to the skin graft. Cover with a light gauze. After one week, you no longer need to use the bacitracin. Continue to cover the skin graft with a light gauze if needed after each wash.
  • Do not submerge the graft or donor site in the tub or any body of water such as a swimming pool or hot tub.

A. Full thickness skin graft: (Generally the incision is at the groin/inguinal area)

  • Remove the postoperative dressing at the end of the first week after surgery* if it has not been removed during the follow up visit. You may notice paper surgical tape (steri-strips) on the incision. Leave the steri-strips on. If the dressing comes off before one week accidentally. You may proceed with #2.
  • Wash the wound gently with soap and water. You may wash the wound in the shower and can get it wet in the shower.
  • Peel the steri-strips off if they are still on by the end of the second week after surgery.

B. Split thickness skin graft

  • Leave the xeroform gauze on the area. The xeroform is the yellow-color bandage that was applied at the time of the surgery.
  • If this wound and the xeroform are still moist, dry the wound and the xeroform 3- 4 times a day by placing a hair dryer (on the low setting) or by sitting in front of a fan.
  • It will be fine to apply an ace wrap and dry dressing over the area and xeroform to keep it protected from any overlying clothing.*
  • As the wound heals, the xeroform gauze will lift from the edges. Trim the edges with a pair of scissors to uncover the newly healed skin. It may take 2 weeks or more before the xeroform lifts off complete.
  • You may apply a light moisturizer to the exposed the thigh skin once the xeroform has lifted off.
  • If the xeroform gets torn off prematurely, the underlying skin will bleed. Do not worry. Apply some pressure and wash the wound with soap and water. Continue with the wound care as above.

*If the dressings become stuck and are difficult to remove, do not pull on them. You can wet them with warm water and gently lift the gauze off of the wound.

What to look for:

▪ Signs of infection: increasing redness, pain, warmth, swelling, or purulent drainage at the surgical site. Additionally, fevers and chills can be signs of infection. Normal surgical pain and swelling should generally begin to decrease 2-3 days after surgery. Antibiotics are usually prescribed for the first 5-7 days following skin graft surgery. Infection of the grafted or donor areas may require premature removal of the dressings placed at the time of surgery. Failure to address this in a timely manner can lead to graft loss. If you suspect infection at the surgical site, contact your provider as soon as possible to determine the appropriate treatment course.
▪ Signs of bleeding: sudden increased swelling/mass-effect at the surgical site, drainage of blood from the wound, or severe bruising around the surgical site. Drainage of a small or moderate amount of blood-tinged fluid following surgery is not uncommon and is usually not indicative of active bleeding. If there appears to be active bleeding, direct pressure on the site can be helpful. An accumulation of blood under the graft can lead to partial or total graft failure; this can be treated by drainage in the clinic setting. If you suspect significant bleeding following surgery, contact your provider to determine appropriate treatment.
▪ Seroma is an accumulation of fluid at a surgical site. If a significant fluid accumulation occurs under the skin graft, it can cause loss of part or all of the graft. Removal of this fluid can be performed in the clinic setting by your provider.
▪ Graft failure: portions, or rarely all, of the graft can appear to “slough” from the wound. In this case, the graft is no longer adherent to the wound bed, and it loses its blood supply, resulting in the loss of that portion of the graft. Small portions of graft loss are not uncommon and usually heal well with the appropriate wound care. If there are small open areas, due to partial graft loss, antibiotic ointment can be applied to these areas


CALL US AT: (858) 456-3992

We proudly serve the Greater San Diego area; La Jolla, Del Mar, Downtown San Diego and even as far as Newport and Los Angeles.

(858) 456-3992