When can I shower after heart surgery?

You may shower if your surgeon has approved this prior to discharge. Your incisions may itch or feel sore, tight, or numb for a few weeks. Some bruising around the incisions is also normal.
  • Use warm, not hot, water.
  • You may wash your incisions gently with soap and water, but do not scrub them.
  • Pat your incisions dry.
  • Do not take baths or use powders or lotions near the incisions.
You may have white pieces of tape on your chest. These are called "Steri-Strips." They will gradually fall off. If they have not fallen off in seven days, gently wash your chest with soap and water and gently peel them off. You may have some bleeding if the strips pulled off any scabs.

If you find it more comfortable, a thin layer of gauze may be placed over the incision(s).

Continue Learning about Heart Surgeries

Heart Surgeries

Heart Surgeries

More than a half million surgeries are done each year to correct heart problems in children and adults. One of the most common types of heart surgery performed is coronary artery bypass grafting, which uses a blood vessel taken fr...

om another part of the body to bypass a blocked artery and help prevent a heart attack. Another is heart valve replacement, used to repair heart valves that don't open and close properly. Heart surgery can be minimally invasive, such as when a small incision is made to the chest to insert a pacemaker. At the other extreme is open-heart surgery, which requires a large incision to the chest to open the rib cage and operate on the heart. Learn more about the different kinds of heart surgeries with expert advice from Sharecare.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.