Postoperative Instructions: Incision & Drainage of Submandibular Abscess

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Immediate Post-Procedure Care

  • Pain Management: You may experience some pain after the procedure. Take prescribed pain medications according to your doctor's instructions to help manage discomfort.
  • Antibiotics: Complete the full course of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor to ensure the infection is fully eradicated.

Wound Care

  • Dressing Changes: Keep the wound clean and dry. Follow your doctor's instructions on how often to change the dressing. This is typically necessary 1-2 times per day to prevent infection.
  • Drain Care: If a drain was placed, you will receive specific instructions on how to care for it. This might include cleaning the area around the drain and measuring the output of drainage.
  • Signs of Infection: Watch for increased redness, swelling, warmth, or pus from the incision site, as these can be signs of infection. Fever may also indicate that the infection is not resolving properly.


  • Rest: Rest as much as possible following your procedure to allow your body to heal.
  • Avoid Strenuous Activities: Do not engage in heavy lifting or vigorous exercise until cleared by your doctor to prevent bleeding or worsening of the wound.

Eating and Drinking

  • Hydration: Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, which helps in overall recovery.
  • Diet: You might find it easier to consume soft foods or liquids if there is discomfort during chewing or swallowing.

Follow-Up Care

  • Doctor’s Appointments: Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments so your doctor can monitor your recovery and remove the drain if necessary.
  • Monitoring Symptoms: Regularly assess your own symptoms to report them accurately during follow-up visits.

Pain and Swelling Management

  • Ice Packs: Apply ice packs to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time during the first 24-48 hours to reduce swelling.
  • Elevation: Try to keep your head elevated when lying down to help reduce swelling.

Long-Term Care

  • Oral Hygiene: Maintain good oral hygiene practices, including brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day. This is crucial to prevent further dental issues that could lead to infections.
  • Smoking Cessation: If you smoke, consider quitting. Smoking can impair healing and increase the risk of complications.

Signs to Watch For

  • Difficulty Breathing: If the swelling worsens and begins to interfere with your ability to breathe, seek emergency medical attention immediately.
  • Persistent or Worsening Symptoms: If pain, swelling, redness, or drainage does not improve or worsens after a few days, contact your healthcare provider.