Post Op Instructions for Sternal Wound Flap
Plastic Surgery Instructions (Sternal Wound Flap):
-Avoid any excessive pressure on your chest/flap.
-Do Not apply a heating pad or ice to your surgical sites. After surgery you will have decreased sensation and heat/ice can result in a burn/frost bite without you feeling it.
-You will be on sternal precautions for at least 3 weeks and until released to full activity by your CardioThoracic Surgeon.
-Females need to wear a surgical bra at all times except when showering. This will relieve tension on the skin closure.
-You can wash your surgical bra in the washing machine if it gets dirty.
-Ok to shower 48 hrs after surgery.
-Strip your drains at least 3 times per day. If you use a small amount of soap/water or hand sanitizer it makes the process easier.
-Record the individual drain output daily. Bring the record to your follow up appointment.
-When showering you can hold your drains, pin them to a belt around your waist, attach
them to a lanyard or string around your neck, or a partner/family member can hold them. Do whatever is easiest for you.
-No strenuous physical activity until cleared by Dr. DePerro and your Cardio Thoracic Surgeon.
-Take your pain medication with food. This can be with as little as a few crackers. This will help prevent nausea.
-You may change the gauze pads (4×4’s) or drain sponges around the drains as they become soiled.
-Smoking causes multiple wound healing complications. It is very important that you do not smoke and you are not around people that smoke for at least 6 weeks after surgery. Second hand smoke is just as harmful as if you were to smoke.
-Be sure to walk at least 300 yards daily. This can be broken up in multiple short trips. It is OK and recommended that you walk more than the minimum of 300 yards. This will help prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT’s/Blood Clots) and Pulmonary Embolisms (PE’s).