Understanding the Healing Process

  • Swelling and bruising around the surgical site may continue for a few days or weeks.
  • A healing wound has a healthy, shiny look to the surface and is red to dark pink in colour.  Small wounds may close in 2-4 weeks.  Larger wounds may take 4-8 weeks to close.
  • Once the wound is closed, you may discontinue Vaseline and cosmetics may be applied to the area. Normal exercise routines may be resumed unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
  • A closed wound is called a scar. Initially, the scar will be red.  Slowly, the colour will fade over the next few months to year.
  • Scars continue healing for up to 2 years and will improve in appearance during this time period.
  • Your scar may be sensitive to temperature changes (such as cold air).  This sensitivity improves with time. However, if you are experiencing a great deal of discomfort, try to avoid extremes of temperature.
  • You may experience itching around your wound and scar as healing continues.  This is normal.  If the skin is dry, apply plain Vaseline.  Once the wound is completely closed, you may apply whatever you wish to the skin.
  • Following external suture removal, you may feel small hard plastic sutures along the suture line.  They are dissolvable sutures, which may take months to dissolve.  If they are bothering you, please contact your nurse or physician.
  • If your scar becomes raised, red, thick and tender, contact your physician.


If you have further questions or concerns, contact your attending physician and remember to keep all follow-up appointments.