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Showering without getting incision wet / Incision care

MeeshaMMeesha Posts: 55
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
How do you wash your hair without getting the incision wet? I use wet wipes for bathing, but I have to wash my hair, and my dr. said not to get soap in the incision.
The nurse at the hospital gave me wrong instructions - she said to take off the bandage 3 days after and let it air dry. Well it's 4 days after, and I finally got to talk to my surgeon, and he said I should still have the bandage on, and just change it. It's already scabbing over, but at least there doesn't seem to be leakage. I'm glad I bought some dressings, but I need tape. In the mean time, I have to figure out this shower dilemma. What do you do?
discectomy in June 2010 - success! No sciatic pain, just some remaining numbness in foot. And I get charlie horses a lot.


  • I had a fusion on l5s1 and took a shower at day four. I had my wife help me dry off, by patting it dry then recovering it for about a week after surgery.I would just take a shower then recover.
  • The nurses at the hospital gave a ton of Tegaderms to put over my incision. It is a very thin transparent dressing.
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  • I wasn't allowed to take a shower....:( The hospital gave me some packages of waterless shampoo. You can buy them (in the US) at the drugstore.

    It's like a shower cap that you put on your head, leave it on. I have long hair, but it worked. Finally at day 12, I got to shower! It was heaven.

    Hope your recovery is going well!

  • I had to keep my dressing on for 6 weeks due to incision not being closed properly, then getting an infection.

    I had Tegaderm dressings, which are supposed to be waterproof, but one day mine filled up with water. We didn't have any spare dressings left, so had to go to the hospital for a new dressing.

    After that we wanted to be sure to keep the dressing dry! We taped a small plastic bag over the dressing. You need to check the tape you use is waterproof first, but then it worked well and meant I could shower each day and wash my hair whenever I wanted.

    Great to hear from you Meesha!!! :H
    How are you doing?
  • Hi Meesha, I hope you are doing well with your recovery! My hospital sent me home with waterproof covers for my dressings but the nurse told me if I ran out to cut a ziploc plastic bag and use waterproof tape. It sounded like a good idea to me!

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  • Meesha,

    I haven't had back surgery, but years ago I was "gutted" from hip to hip to remove a large tumor. I too wasn't allowed to shower, but hated it so much I did this. I used cling wrap! I made about 3 wraps around my waist, then took the tie string from an old pair of sweats and carefully secured the top of the cling wrap to further prevent water from getting underneath to the incision site. Worked like a charm! Hope it helps.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Cut a piece of trash bag, or grocery shopping bag out large enough to cover the whole area. Tape it on with whatever tape you have other than scotch tape. Duct tape, or packaging tape works. Get it off right after you have had your shower---and washed your hair. Be careful in the tub or shower stall.

  • I had sub cuticular sutures with steri-strips over the incision line. I was able to take a shower on post-op day 5, however, every surgeon has their on directions for care; much of it based on the research on infections, and the rest based on their personal experiences.

  • lol thats a great idea, best one i've heard.
    I bet you could get a patent on that and retire on the royalities.
    i like that, wish i wold have thought about that.

    my best to you.
  • Thanks! I came up with the cling wrap mostly because the 'fold' we have in our hips was right in line with the 11 inch incision - so I needed something snug, secure and waterproof! The other added plus was when I was done showering, I could pat it dry before I removed it, and as such, protecting again my incision from water.

    I've since used it for my 2 neck surgeries and for my arm when they moved my Ulnar in the elbow and hand. Cheap and good for almost any body shape/location!! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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