Dr. Haynes removed Aerin's staples and the top layer of stitches in his office yesterday. They had to stay in an additional week because the skin was so tight. The tightness was to be expected - Dr. Pozez only had a limited amount of skin to work with. It's really a testament to her monumental skill that she was able to close the wound without a graft. Both Dr. Oiticica and Dr. Haynes told me that they were astonished that she managed it. We're thrilled, particularly because a graft would have been quite painful and taken much longer to heal. It also would have left more scarring.
The wound is pretty gruesome. It's not like a cut or a surgical incision - it's much bigger and nowhere near as straight. It is, however, much straighter than I ever thought it could be. There's some swelling and separating, which is to be expected. New skin will grow to cover the separation. We're keeping it clean and bandaged. Thankfully, I have a lot of experience with wound care from when the hemangioma was severely ulcerated. Otherwise, we would have had to go into the office every day for dressing change. Our routine until the next visit to Dr. Haynes it to clean it with soap and warm water every day, cover it with Neosporin, and bandage it.
Aerin is not in any pain. It's hard to believe, especially when you look at the wound. She's using the arm normally and she's her usual exuberant self. We did have two incidents when she had just come home - she woke up screaming in pain. We think she probably rolled over on the arm in her sleep. We gave her Motrin and Pedialyte and she was fine within minutes.
I'll write a full account of the surgery in the next week or so. Aerin and I came home from the hospital with colds and we're both just recovering now. Here is a link to a picture of the wound 5 days post-surgery. It is very graphic and icky, so please don't look at it if you have a weak stomach. Seriously. I cannot emphasize enough how gross it is. Okay, here goes: the picture.