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I had surgery two days ago. The area around my incision is extremely itchy. The skin is red and bumpy around it. I feel fine otherwise, but can't take this itchiness any more! What should I do?

Deva Boone
Answer authored by Deva Boone
Deva Boone, MD is the founder of the Southwest Parathyroid Center. As one of the most experienced parathyroid surgeons in the U.S., she has treated thousands of patients with parathyroid conditions.

This sounds like an allergic reaction. If you have a steri-strip, then it is likely an allergic reaction to to the glue that holds the steri-strip in place (usually mastisol). You could also have a reaction to the soap that is used to clean the area just prior to the operation

You should call your surgeon and let him or her know about this. Your surgeon will advise you on the next steps. 

Here is what I generally recommend to my patients with allergic reactions at the incision site: Remove the steri-strip right away and wash the entire area with a gentle soap. You don’t need to scrub, just wash the area gently. Even though I like to keep the steri-strip on for a week, taking it off is fine if you are having an allergic reaction. And if you don’t remove it, the reaction will get worse. Once you have washed the area, apply over-the-counter cortisone cream and reapply as instructed on the tube. I also recommend taking Benadryl 50 mg, which can be repeated every 4 to 6 hours. 

When an allergic reaction occurs, it may not improve right away, even with medication. It may actually look worse for a day or two, and then start improving. In most cases, all that is needed is benadryl and cortisone cream. Rarely, someone with a more severe reaction will need steroids. This should be evaluated by your doctor in person. 

Postop complications