Skin Rashes, Infections, and Wounds - Should You Postpone Your Surgery?
Our staff at Jefferson Plastic Surgery understands your desire to have the best possible outcome from your cosmetic surgical procedure. Our highly qualified surgeons are committed to fulfilling that desire for you, starting from your first consultation visit to your final follow-up visit.
Part of that commitment is patient education to ensure that you understand when it may be necessary to postpone your surgery to a later date. One of the most common examples of this is any sort of skin issue, such as a rash, infection, or wound.
Read on to understand the dangers that can come from any sort of cut or break in the skin when you come in for surgery, as well as how to recognize the signs of an infection that may result in the need to postpone your surgery until your skin infection has cleared up.
Skin Rashes, Wounds, and Cellulitis
The human skin is one of the most impressive parts of your body’s defense system because it can fight off invasion from foreign bodies. Not only is it the single largest barrier against such bodies, but it also includes healthy bacteria that have a protective purpose.
However, if you develop a rash, wound, or even a small cut, this may allow bacteria to get into the body itself, leading to a type of infection known as cellulitis. The two most common bacterial strains that can lead to cellulitis are streptococcus and staphylococcus.
While surgical incisions are the most common risk factor for cellulitis, as you may have either large or multiple incisions at more than one site, even a small break in the skin that happens days prior to surgery can be all it takes to allow streptococcus or staphylococcus bacteria to set in. Something as minor as an insect bite, a skinned knee, or a hangnail is all that is needed.
Signs and Symptoms of a Cellulitis Infection
The most common sign of cellulitis is redness around the area of the rash, cut, or wound that will expand outward very rapidly. It may also feel tender, painful, or hot in the area. You may also notice that the area will look swollen and shiny.
The best way to prevent a skin infection that could turn into cellulitis before your scheduled surgery is to be diligent about washing your hands with unscented, mild soap. However, don’t overdo it, as dry skin can crack. If your skin is normally on the dry side, drink extra water and invest in a good quality lotion (although don’t apply it in the area where your incisions will be).
Finally, regularly check the skin in the area of the surgical site starting a week or two prior to surgery, particularly if it is an area where you normally shave.
Our staff understands how much you are looking forward to seeing the final results from your surgery. This is why we will start working with you before your surgery about the concern of any cuts or rashes on your skin so that they can be addressed prior to your surgery.