To minimize the length of parotid surgery recovery and promote healing following parotid surgery, patients are advised to adhere to the CENTER's post-surgery instructions.
Patients are advised to apply antibiotic ointment, like Neosporin, to the incision twice a day for the first ten days, followed by Vitamin E ointment twice a day and sunblock in the morning for the next two months.
Bruising, swelling and hardness around the incision is completely normal and to be expected during parotid surgery recovery. The hardness will peak at three weeks and disappear within the next two to three months. Starting two weeks after surgery, firm massaging to the scar will help promote healing.
If a drain was required, it should be emptied at least twice a day and the amount of liquid recorded. Bring this record to your first appointment. Once there is less than 25cc of fluid present in the drain after a 24-hour period, the drain can be removed.
The dressing wrap should be removed the day after surgery. From there, an Ace Wrap or special parotid wrap should be tightly wound around the head to reduce swelling, especially at night, for the next two weeks.
In the first month after surgery, patients are advised to sleep with two to three pillows to keep the head elevated and alleviate swelling. Additionally, it is important to get plenty of sleep to promote healing and a swift recovery.
The following is an approximate timeline of the experience you can expect in the days and weeks immediately following parotid surgery. However, please note that this is only an approximation and the actual timeline will vary depending on the individual.
Immediately After Surgery
After surgery, you will remain in the recovery room for one to two hours. At that time, the nurses will give you and your family instructions on how to care for the drain and dressing. Your first night after surgery you will sleep with the dressing on, with two to three pillows.
When you first wake up in the morning, carefully remove the dressing. Measure the liquid in the drain bulb, which will probably be very red as it is mostly blood. From there, clean the area of the incision with Q-tips soaked in peroxide to remove the tiny blood clots and apply antibiotic ointment. Then place gauze over the incision and wrap an Ace Wrap or parotid wrap tightly around your head.
Under the skin near your ear, you will notice the outline of the drain, which looks like a line of swelling. Be assured that this area will flatten out once the drain is removed. Additionally, temporary skin folds below the incision and numbness around the ear, face and neck are to be expected and will resolve within the next few weeks.
Second and Third Day
On the second and third day of your parotid surgery recovery, it is normal to notice increased swelling in the area of surgery. In addition, there should be a reduction in the amount of fluid in the drain and the liquid should be less red.
The drain is usually removed on the fourth day unless there is more than 25cc of liquid present from the previous 24 hours. If the fluid is more than 25cc, the drain should remain in place.
Sixth or Seventh Day
By the sixth or seventh day, the surface sutures are removed. Although the skin may appear yellowish due to the absorption of the fluid underneath the skin's surface, rest assured that it's only temporary. Your skin color will return to normal within two weeks.
By day ten, you should notice that your energy levels are improving and you don't need to rest as often.
Day Ten or Fourteen
Between day ten and fourteen, most patients can return to work with Dr. Larian's approval.
By this time, the swelling will have dramatically subsided and be virtually imperceptible.
Three to Four Weeks
At this point, most patients can resume exercise and rigorous activities.
By the one month mark, the skin folds near the incision will begin to dramatically diminish. Within the next few weeks they should disappear completely.
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