Dr. Tanner Post-Operative Care

Wound Care

  • If you have increased pain after your surgery and you feel your splint or bandage is too tight, you may need to loosen the bandage layers until the pain improves. Occasionally, you may even need to remove your entire bandage and reapply if swelling has caused constriction or intensified your pain. You may need to purchase bandage supplies at your local pharmacy to reapply your bandage if soiled or wet.
  • Beginning after your 1st post-operative visit you may begin to wash your wound with soap and water.
  • Gently remove the bandage (Soak the bandage to loosen with clean water if needed).
  • Gently wash the incision with any type of soap and water (antibacterial soap is not necessary, but may be used if already purchased).
  • Rinse the area, and then pat with clean towel.
  • Consider drying the area with a hair dryer on cool or low setting to avoid trapping moisture under the sutures or staples.
  • While you may wash in the shower, you cannot submerge the wound in water (no relaxing in hot tub, swimming or washing dishes).
  • Once dry, cover with bandages as shown by Medial Assistant at first post-operative visit.

    • If bandages are too tight, loosen them to avoid cutting off circulation or making any swelling worse.
  • Do not apply creams, lotion or ointments to the incision (No Neosporin, Polysporin, Bacitracin, Vaseline, Mentholatum, Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, etc.).
  • Reapply splint if instructed to do so.
  • Observe the surgical Area for signs of infection

    • Signs and Symptoms of Infection

      • Increasing pain and increasing swelling
      • Increased redness/red streaks coming from the wound
      • Drainage of greenish fluid or pus coming from wound
      • Fever and/or chills
      • Please note that mild pink/redness around the margin of the incision or wound is a normal response to healing. Once the wound has healed, it will be thicker and more dense than the surrounding tissue for about 3 months, after which the body will remodel the area and it will be softer and less painful to touch or direct pressure.

Pin Care

If you have pins coming through the skin holding your fracture or fusion in place, you need to care for the pins as follows:

1. Gently wash the skin with Hibiclens and water twice daily, use cotton-tipped applicator (Q-tips) if needed around the pins.
2. Rinse the area with clean water and dry as described above, consider using hair dryer on low heat setting.
3. Gently massage the skin to keep the skin loose around the pins and apply Xeroform gauze (Yellow-colored in foil package) around pins.
4. Replace bandage and/or splint as directed.
5. Observe for signs/symptoms of infection (Listed above).
6. Call or return to the office immediately for infection.


Oftentimes, pain medications can cause constipation. If you develop constipation, we encourage you to maintain a diet rich in fiber and adequate fluid intake.

We also recommend the use of Over-The-Counter medications listed below, which can be purchased at your local pharmacy:

  •  Senokot (Senna-docusate)

    • While experiencing constipation, take 2 tablets orally two times per day. If stools become loose, stop use.

If needed, you can also take one of the following (listed below) in adjunct to Senokot:

  • Milk of Magnesia (Magnesium hydroxide)

    • 30mL orally 2 times per day as needed.
  • Dulcolax (Bisacodyl)

    • 10mg tablet orally once daily as needed.
  • Miralax (Polyethylene glycol)

    • 17g dissolved in 8 ounces of water, juice or tea once per day as needed.