It’s extremely important to follow any post-procedural instructions Dr. Popp and his team give you after a procedure. Though it seems like a no-brainer, many people have decided post-procedural instructions are merely suggestions.
“We are always amazed, flabbergasted and sometimes disgusted when people don’t read their instructions or assume their spouse is going to read them and take care of thigs for them. Or even worse, they decide one or more of the instructions doesn’t apply to them so they don’t do it,” said Dr. Jeff Popp.
Dr. Popp is quick to admit there are times when not adhering to directions is not too impactful but more of the time it can have a huge impact and potentially ruin the surgery.
Eyelid surgery is one big example where it’s important to follow instructions to the letter.
One of the standard issue post-op instructions you give people who have eyelid surgery is telling them to use a mask, a shield or a protector to wear when they sleep at night. The reason is that almost every single wound in the human body will tend to itch. People are sound asleep, their eyelids start to itch and the hand comes up to rub the itch,” he said.
The problem is, if it’s within the first three weeks after surgery, they will end up tearing stitches out. Dr. Popp said he’s had it happen many times.
“Then I will get a call the next morning from the patient and they’ll say, ‘when I woke up this morning it looked like all my stitches broke…there’s a big gap.’ So the first question I ask is if they wore their shield and protection. And 80-90% of the time they will say ‘no.’”
Dr. Popp said he and his staff then are baffled as to why it happened.
The most common excuses:
- It fell off
- I don’t like the way it feels
- I don’t move when I sleep
That last one gets to Dr. Popp because he wonders how people can know they’re not moving if they can’t see themselves sleeping.
“None of us sleep in one position and some move more than others. When you’re unconscious in a sleep state, you can’t tell your hand not to come up and scratch your eye,” he said.
The bottom line is that everything that’s on the instruction sheet is there for a reason. That reason? To ensure that the surgical area heals properly and without issues.
“We want people to follow these and demand they follow them but then also end up amazed at the number who don’t think instructions apply to them,” Dr. Popp said.