Dressings or bandages – they can be called either.

Dressings and any ointments need to be changed twice a day along with emptying the drains.  You will probably need two dressings –one over your incision and one over the drain site.  They are probably going to be gauze with a non-stick surface, 2″ x 3″ or possibly larger.  You may be told to put a antibacterial ointment on yourself and that helps to hold the dressing while you get your bra back on.  Getting them to lay flat is initially the only challenge here.  Sometimes it’s hard to see under your boob/replacement prosthesis and it is unlikely that you will be able to feel it as you will be numb.  Your bra will hold the dressings in place once they are in the right spot.  You may need a little tape, but the nurse (the visiting nurse the insurance will pay for and the hospital/clinic provides if you ask for one) can determine that. Visiting nurses are a wonderful help here as you may still be a bit groggy from the anesthesia and they will make sure everything is the way it should be.  If a nurse isn’t helpful, gentle and generally nice – call the hospital/clinic and ask for  another one.  This is your health we are talking about here, not a popularity contest.  Once you get the hang of it after 3 or 4 or 5 or more days, you can change the dressings by yourself.  If after the nurses are no longer visiting and your wounds look really red and/or pus-y, there may be an infection so do not tough that out.  You need to call your doctor right away.  A washcloth soaked in an Epsom’s solution can be used after a week or so for a light cleaning compress – check with your doctor for when it’s okay.  I had trouble healing with a petroleum based ointment as it sat on top of my skin and kept the incision from closing.  You may want to try our Jen’s Gift instead.  It was made for radiation burns, but it works really nicely for healing incisions also.

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