Post-Operative Instructions for Biopsy
At Northwest Valley Oral & Facial Cosmetic Surgery, we realize that having any surgery can be stressful. Our desire is to have your post-operative course progress as smoothly as possible. These instructions provide some general guidelines with regards to post-operative care; your doctor may give you additional instructions as well.
A biopsy is any procedure which is either incisional (small piece) or excisional (all of the lesion) of tissue or bone is taken and sent to a pathologist for examination to determine its origin.
Some bleeding is expected after any surgical procedure and is normal part of healing. Gauze is provided so you can maintain your biopsy sight. If you have had a biopsy inside your mouth you will need to moisten your gauze, squeeze out excess water then place gauze in order to apply pressure to the area. If your procedure was outside the mouth you will need to hold gauze in place in order to apply pressure. Bleeding can continue for up to 72 hours after a procedure, especially if the area has been stimulated by movement. If any sutures have been placed most in the mouth will dissolve on there own in 7-10 days. If a non-dissolving suture is placed you will be informed and they will be removed at your post-op appointment.
If you have had sedation you may not operate a motor vehicle or any hazardous device for at least 24 hours following surgery, or until you are fully recovered from the effects of anesthesia. Also, if you are taking narcotic pain medication the same rules apply as above. Remember sports or any other physical activity will speed up your heart rate and promote bleeding.
You may be more comfortable with a soft diet (mashed potatoes, soft pasta, scrambled eggs, etc…) but you can eat what you like, you are only limited by your own discomfort. Please remember that you should eat before taking any pain medication it will reduce your chances of getting nauseas. Also any gauze should always be removed before eating or drinking.
Swelling is a normal part of any surgery, and can increase for 72 hours after surgery, then start to decrease by the 5th day.
Rinsing / Wound Care
If your procedure was inside the mouth, you should rinse with warm salt water rinses starting the day after your surgery (1 teaspoon salt in a glass of warm water), 6-8 times a day for at least 1 week following the procedure to help promote healing and reduce inflammation in the tissue. If your procedure was outside the mouth you will need to keep it covered when you shower to keep it as dry as possible, changing the dressing regularly will help prevent infection but you should also allow the area to breathe so it will heal. Antibiotic ointment should be applied regularly throughout the day to keep the incision moist, this will help reduce scaring. After your sutures are removed you need to apply sun screen to the area when outside or the scar will redden and be more prominent.
Ice / Heat
You may be instructed to place ice/heat packs on the area. If so place the ice pack over the area where the biopsy was taken for the 24 to 48 hours. This will aid in the relief of pain as well as reduce swelling. After 48 hours you may switch to heat. If there was infectious swelling at the time of surgery you will need to start with HEAT not ice to help the area drain.
If you have been given a prescription for medication please get it filled and take as directed on the bottle, AFTER EATING. Antibiotics should be taken until gone and pain medication used only if needed. You can alternate pain meds every 3 hours with an over the counter analgesic 400 mg (Aleve, Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin) if needed. Or you can take only over the counter meds every 6 hours as needed for pain.
If you have any questions regarding a condition, it is best to call the office during REGULAR OFFICE HOURS. A follow-up office visit is provided as a courtesy at no charge. If you have a TRUE emergency, the doctor or his assistant can be reached 24 hours a day 7 days a week. During the day call the office number. At night, call Dr. Hammond on his cell phone. If there is no answer, leave a message and Dr. Hammond will call you back as soon as possible.