Shower After Cosmetic Surgery?

Contrary to common myths, washing an incision after surgery is not bad. However, it is important that only clean running water (showers only) and mild soap are used. Baths must be avoided, as sitting or soaking in the bathing water can be a source of contamination and lead to bacterial contamination.  

I instruct my patients to gently wash incisions in the shower within 24 hours after surgery. This step accomplishes two things. First, it reduces the normal bacterial growth on the skin around the incision, significantly eliminating risk of infection. Secondly, patients generally feel better after a shower and moving around a bit. It is important to allow the incision/s to air-dry completely. Bacteria hate dry environments, so keeping the incision dry is also very important. Avoid getting any perspiration onto the incision.  This is particularly true when the incision is in the groin or armpit area.

I find that after my patients have a shower, it really does make them feel better, too.  It is a great first step in getting back into their daily routine. It is important to carefully follow the after-care instructions regarding activity, but the sooner you resume your normal life, the sooner you will recover and interestingly enough, patients report that they have less pain.


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