Post-Op Instructions for Biopsy/Soft Tissue Surgery

Please read the following instructions carefully. Following these instructions is essential to achieve a successful result. Also, following these instructions will help make your post-operative course more comfortable and will help to avert any unnecessary complications. Should you have any problems or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call the office.

Rest

Patients that had a local anesthetic should try and take it easy for the rest of the day. Patients who received a general anesthetic should return home from the office immediately upon discharge. Try to lie down with the head elevated until all the effects of the anesthetic have disappeared. Anesthetic effects vary by individual, and you may feel drowsy for a shorter/longer period of time. You should not drive a motor vehicle or operate any mechanical equipment for the rest of the day or longer if you feel any residual effect from the anesthetic.

Pain/Medications

If an antibiotic was prescribed, it should be taken until completed. We advise you to take pain medication within 2 hours following your surgery. If you only have minor pain, try an over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol, Advil, or Aleve. If that does not provide relief, take the prescribed pain medication as directed. You may supplement the prescribed medication with an over the counter analgesic such as ibuprofen. We advise that you alternate the prescription pain pill with 600 – 800mg of Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) every 4-6 hrs. If you develop hives or a rash, discontinue all medication and contact the office immediately. Narcotic pain medication can make you drowsy, so you should not drive a car or perform any important tasks while taking the medication until you know how it makes feel.

Swelling

Expect some swelling after your procedure especially if the surgery site was near the lips. It may take 3-4 days before it reaches a maximum. Bruising may also occur. Immediately after the surgery, ice packs should be applied to the outside of the face over the area of surgery. Apply for 20 minutes, remove for 20 minutes. Repeat this alternating procedure for the first day only. Applying ice after the first day can slow the healing process. If your biopsy site was on the tongue or the roof of the mouth, frozen popsicles can provide a good source of relief for the first several days. Keep lips moist with lip balm or Vaseline to prevent cracking or chapping.

Bleeding

Slight bleeding may continue for up to 24 hours or so. This is not unusual and is no cause for alarm. Rinsing the mouth too soon can interfere with clotting so do not rinse the first day. If excessive bleeding occurs, it may be stopped by placing a wet roll of gauze dressing on top of the area and applying pressure. Sitting quietly in an upright position will also aid in the control of bleeding. If these measures do not succeed, call the office.

Fever

A slight fever is usual for a day or so following any surgical procedure. Fever may be caused by inadequate fluid intake as well. An adult should consume 8-12 glasses of fluid each day. If an antibiotic was prescribed, be sure to take it as directed. If a fever seems prolonged or excessive, do not hesitate to call the office.

Smoking — Absolutely Prohibited for First 2-Weeks

Smoking is an irritant to healing tissues and will also close down blood vessels. Alcoholic beverages can also close down blood vessels and destroy blood clots and excessive intake should be avoided the first few days.
Both will delay healing.

Oral Hygiene

Starting the day after surgery, gently soak several times daily with warm salty water, especially after eating (DO NOT rinse the mouth the day of the surgery). Mouth rinses (like Listerine) or other disinfectants like peroxide should not be used unless prescribed for this period. DO NOT brush your teeth around the surgical site the day of surgery. After the first day, brush your teeth normally, but be very careful in the area of the surgery. Use the SOFT brush given to you to brush the TEETH around the surgical area. DO NOT touch the surgical site.

Diet

Try to eat away from the surgical site. Only soft foods should be consumed for the first 4-5 days to avoid trauma to the surgical sites. After that, you may advance your diet as tolerated. Sour or spicy foods like hot sauce or sour candy should be avoided for approx. 7-10 days. Avoid sharp, crunchy foods such as nuts, seeds, chips and popcorn until the area completely heals. You will feel better, have more strength, less pain and heal faster if you make sure to continue to get good nutrition.

Activity

Avoid strenuous activity such as biking, running, swimming, heavy lifting for at least 2-3 days after your procedure or possibly longer as directed by your doctor. During the first 24 hrs, excessive physical activity can cause prolonged bleeding and can cause increased pain during the first several days.