No stitches to take out
Although your incision is small, the typical operation involves about 20 stitches on the inside. We use stitches that dissolve so there are no stitches to come out. The stitches are thin and small and will be gone within 1.5 months. We close the incision using plastic surgery methods for a very tiny (almost invisible) scar.
Band-aid can get wet
You will have a small “butterfly” type of bandage on your wound. Keep this dry overnight and then you can get it wet (shower, shave, etc). Just pat it dry with a towel. You can swim in 48 hours.
Peel band-aid off in a week
Remove the bandage yourself in 7 days – just peel it off. About 60% of our patients are from outside the state of Florida, and a lot of them end up at the beach in Clearwater or St. Pete. This is great, and you can get salt water on the butterfly bandage at 48 hours. You are going to remove the bandage 1 week after surgery. So on the 7th day, grab a corner of the bandage and peel it off (it can be hard to get off, but do it!).
Your wound and bandage may get a little blood spot on it the first day or two. This is normal and you should not worry. We have never seen a parathyroid operation get an infection. It is a very small incision, it is a very sterile procedure, and everybody gets IV antibiotics in the operating room. However, if it shows signs of infection, call us or go see your doctor.
The wound swells a little bit
All injured tissue swells and your neck operation is no different. Some people have very little swelling and almost no pain. Others have a little bit of swelling for a few days or a week–that is perfectly fine. Sometimes the wound will be a little stiff and puffy/swollen for a couple of weeks–this is not very common, but is perfectly fine too.
Remember that there are different layers of sutures that we have used to put the muscles back together under the skin. When the sutures dissolve over 4-5 weeks, and the body heals, the entire area will become soft and supple like normal. Until then, you may have a small area of swelling right around and under the wound. Occasionally, it looks like a ping pong ball under the wound. This is OK—this is how it swells sometimes. It will be fine! We have more about this and a few photos of this in the orange “Frequently Asked Questions” sections of this app.
Want a smaller scar?
For the smallest, least noticeable scar, use sunscreen and don’t get it sunburned. Obviously, we are talking about after the bandage has come off. Some people swear by vitamin E application or using aloe lotion daily after the bandage comes off. This is fine, but probably not necessary for most people. Do as you like here.
Should you massage the scar?
Nope, that is dumb. Not sure where that started, but don’t do it. It doesn’t help.