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Recovering from a surgical procedure can be a painful, emotional time. A surgical patient often faces a wide range of risks and side effects. One unpleasant side effect is incisional pain, or pain or itchiness at the site of the surgical incision. Incisional pain can occur with any type of surgery, from wisdom teeth extraction to caesarian sections, to cardiac surgery.
Like any wound, a surgical incision can be very painful. Although surgery is a controlled medical intervention, the incision itself causes tissue trauma. This trauma stimulates sensitive nerves in the area surrounding the incision. The nerves send a signal to the brain, which is interpreted as pain. While originating from the incision, post-surgical incisional pain can be experience both near the incision or, as is often the case, in the area surrounding the incision.
While incisional pain is a common side effect of surgery, it can lead to some significant dangers. Severe incisional pain can be the sign that something else is wrong, and is correlated with a higher risk of post-surgical complications. Patients who are suffering from severe incisional pain are often overcome with the discomfort and often have limited (if any) mobility, energy, and appetite. This makes recovery and the return to daily life far more difficult.
Relieving Incisional Pain
While time can help alleviate post-surgical side effects, there are several tips to help lessen incisional pain. Many post-operative patients are prescribed pain killers, which help with pain. Remember to protect the incision site and avoid strenuous activities that may reopen or put unnecessary strain and pressure on the wound. Wear clothes that are loose and comfortable and won't rub up against the healing incision. Feel free to ask your surgeon or physician for other tips to make the recovery process as pain free as possible.
When to Seek Help
It is normal to experience incisional pain after having any kind of surgical procedure. However, patients that are suffering from incisional pain accompanied by redness, swelling, discharge, or numbness should contact their doctor immediately. Flu-like or other serious symptoms, such as fever, chills, nausea, or dizziness, should also be brought to the attention of a medical professional. It is important that patients are as honest as possible about their condition when meeting for a post-operative check up with their surgeon.