Recovering from scoliosis surgery

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Learn about how to properly take care of your teen's incision scar following scoliosis surgery.

Key points

  • The Steri-Strips will fall off the incision on their own.
  • When taking a shower, teens can place a tower over the incision so water pressure will not sting.
  • Inspect the incision each day for any redness, discharge or odour.

Be careful with your teenager’s incision. There are a number of things you can do to make sure the incision stays clean and healthy. Here are a few tips.

Photo of Chantal scar

Taking care of the dressing

The incision will have small pieces of tape across it. These are called Steri-Strips. The Steri-Strips will fall off on their own, usually within the first week or two after coming home from the hospital. Having a shower can speed this up. After your teen has a shower, the strips will loosen a bit, and they (or you) can gently pull off the strips.

Sometimes, at the top of the incision, there might be a piece of suture (string) hanging out from the skin. This will fall off on its own. If the string is long and bothering your teen, it can be cut off with scissors. If you are afraid to cut the string off on your own, ask the clinic nurse to clip it when your teen goes in for their post-operative clinic appointment.

Washing the incision

Bathing in a bathtub is not allowed until the incision is completely healed. This takes about two weeks following discharge from the hospital. In the meantime, showers are okay. The water pressure from the shower may sting, so have your teen place a towel over the incision to protect it. When washing, make sure they use very mild baby soap and avoid scented or beaded soap.

Inspecting the incision

Inspect the incision every day and check for:

  • Any kind of discharge (pus) or weeping from the incision
  • Any redness in the tissue surrounding the incision
  • Any foul odour coming from the incision

Other helpful hints

  • Don’t let your teen sit out in the sun with their incision uncovered. It will burn very easily. Apply sunblock to protect your teen’s scar for at least one year following surgery.
  • Check with your teen’s surgeon before using any special lotions or creams on the incision. Only use such products once the incision has completely healed.
Last updated: June 1st 2008