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How do I care for my incision following thyroid or parathyroid surgery?

When a patient goes home following parathyroid or thyroid surgery they do not have to take care of the incision at all.

When Dr. Kroeker’s patients go home they have small Steri-strip bandages, which are just sticky strips that go across the incision. The patient leaves these strips on for a week, which covers their incision. They can take a shower 24 hours after surgery, and the water runs right over the Steri-Strips, which are very sticky, and therefore do not come off.

When a patient comes back to see Dr. Kroeker one week after surgery, she will take the Steri-strips off and then there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

A patient needs to avoid exposing the incision to the sun for three months (absolutely no sun because of the delicacy of the new skin). If the incision gets any sun at all in the first three months following surgery, it can cause hyperpigmentation, which can look bad.

The second thing is to keep the incision really moist. There are several things that can be done to achieve this:

  • A patient can use Vaseline on the incision, which is very cost-effective. This is applied to the incision 3-4 times a day.
  • Patients can also use an emollient night cream or intensive lotion 3-4 times a day.

For patients that do not have the time for either of these options, they can use silicone strips, which can be purchased at any drugstore. Patients cut out a small strip of silicone with a sticky backing that goes across the incision and puts it on at the beginning of the day. They would remove this while taking a shower and then put it back on after patting the incision dry after a shower.

This can be very effective for patients who will not remember to apply lotion or vaseline to their incision throughout the day. The silicone strip is the only care needed to keep the incision soft and moist.

Patients will do this for three months, while the incision is healing. If a patient keeps their incision out of the sun for three months and keeps the incision really nice and soft, it will look great. Many people do not even realize that patients have had thyroid or parathyroid surgery a year later, if they cared for the incision properly for the three months following the operation.