Surgical scars can show both healthy and dangerous symptoms – there are some warning signs to keep watch for.

As surgical wounds are healing, there are often some distinct changes that occur to the skin both around and near the wound. While this surgical wound healing is nothing to be embarrassed about – your body is properly caring for itself – there are some warning symptoms to keep watch for. Here are a few things that you can expect – and the things to watch out for:

Fluid

Good: It is normal for a surgical wound site to have some fluid come out of the incision area – this is one of the ways our bodies naturally heal themselves. Drainage can either be clear or slightly yellow in color, and will usually occur for around the first two to three days following the procedure. Some surgical wounds also present serosanguinous drainage, which may be slightly pink in color due to the blood cells that are present. Both types of drainage should be rather thin and slightly watery.

Bad: Not all drainage is good drainage, however. If you notice green, yellow or cloudy drainage seeping from your surgical site, this could be a sign that your wound is infected. Make sure you get in contact with your health care provider or clinician so that you can find out what the proper supplies to purchase are.

Redness

Good: A small amount of redness and inflammation around the tissue that has been altered from the surgery can be expected after the procedure. This discoloration is completely normal, although the redness should start to fade within around six months, depending on the severity of the procedure.

Bad: Although redness immediately surrounding the wound is normal, any redness the spreads into splotches or thready, spider web-like patterns beyond the wound could be a sign of infection. If this occurs, seek medical advice immediately so that you can gain the appropriate wound dressing.

Raised Skin

Good: Most surgical procedures produce some type of scar, which is completely normal. Scars are a result of the body healing itself by pulling the skin beside the wound in to close the incision site. Because of this, you will often get raised skin directly on the wound, as well as tighter skin on both sides of the surgical area.

Bad: When a wound is infected, the lymph nodes closest to the surgery site will often become enlarged. As a matter of precaution, it is good to feel these nodes from time to time to make sure that an infection is not going unseen and untreated.