After your burns surgery

You have had:

  • local anaesthetic
  • regional anaesthetic
  • general anaesthetic

What to expect after your operation

You will have a dressing and/or a plaster. Keep this clean and dry

Do not take it off unless told to do so. We will remove it for you at your follow up appointment

After your operation you will be given:

  • A copy of your discharge summary (a copy will also be sent to your GP).
  • Post-operative leaflet containing advice on commonly prescribed analgesia.
  • Burns discharge booklet 

What to expect after your anaesthetic

After local anaesthesia

The area may feel numb or you may have pins and needles. This will start to wear off in a few hours

After regional anaesthesia (a block)

You should feel completely normal after our regional anaesthetic except that you will not feel any pain or sensation (such as heat or cold) in your arm.

You may also feel as though you don’t have control over the way your arm moves. You should take extra care not to burn or injure yourself until the block wears off.

Keep your arm in sling until the block has worn off. Shrug your shoulder 10 times every 1-2hours when you are awake.

The block will  last for up to 36 hours. It may feel tingly, warm or like pins and needles as it starts to wear off.

If your arm is still numb more than 36 hours after surgery contact the Burns Unit on 0203 315 2500.

After general anaesthesia

We use short acting anaesthetic agents so you will recover quickly. You may feel a little groggy or sick if you have had strong painkillers; this can last up to a few hours.

Your throat will be a little sore from the tube that helps you breath during the operation. This can last from a few hours to two days. Symptoms disappear without any specific treatment. If the pain is severe taking pain killers, drinking plenty of fluids and gargling help to reduce inflammation and pain.

Taking painkillers

You will be advised on commonly prescribed medications which can be bought in your local pharmacy to help you manage pain. These work best if you take them regularly for the first 24-48 hours when the pain is likely to be most troublesome.

Your nurse will tell you when to start taking your painkillers. You should start to take your painkillers before your block or local anaesthetic wears off.

Listed below are appropriate pain killers. These can be taken as a combination to manage your pain.

Paracetamol 500mg

1-2 tablets every 6-8 hours. No more than 8 tablets in a 24 hour period. (four times a day)

Do not take any other medicines containing paracetamol at the same time.

Note: some over the counter cold and flu tablets contain paracetamol.

Ibuprofen 200mg

Dose: 2 tablet every 8 hours (three times a day)

Precautions: Take with food. May cause allergic reaction, abdominal pain, heartburn, indigestion and headache. If you suffer from these stop taking these tablets and if it persists see your GP.

People that should avoid ibuprofen are those with a history of having stomach ulcers or kidney problems. We wouldn’t recommend ibuprofen for those aged over 75 years old

Dihydrocodeine 30mg

Dose: 1 tablet every 6 hours (four times a day)

Precautions: May cause drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, constipation and sweating. Note: this may make you sleepy; if this happens do not drive or use tools or machinery. Do not take alcohol.

Sometimes a doctor will prescribe dihydrocodeine, a stronger pain killer, to be taken alongside paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Taking Antihistamines/Anti-itch medication

Chlorphenamine 4mg

Dose: 4mg every 4-6 hours. No more than 24mg per day for an adult and 12mg per day for the elderly (>65ears old)

Precaution: May cause drowsiness. Cautions with epilepsy and avoid using during pregnancy.

Do not take any of these medications if you are allergic to them or have ever experienced a reaction to any of them.

If you continue to experience itching which is causing you discomfort despite taking antihistamines; please call the Burns Unit for further advice on 0203 315 2500.

After your Burns Surgery

Important Information

There may be a problem if:

  • You have pain that is increasing or that you cannot control with painkillers
  • Your bandage or splint feels too tight because of swelling
  • You experience symptoms of a wound infection, such as; fevers, shivering, increased pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • Your plaster starts to get wet or break and your wound is exposed.
  • You have bleeding through your dressing and this doesn’t stop even when you raise your wound above your heart and apply firm pressure for 5 minutes.

If you experience any of these symptoms or have any other concerns or questions please contact us. 


Was this page useful to you?

Share this page