Post operative wound care
1. The wound dressing should be left on for approximately 48 hours.
2. After 48 hours the dressing should be removed. The wound site may look greasy if antibiotic ointment has been applied. Paper (steristrip) dressings may be left on the wound until the stitches are removed. It is normal for the wound to ooze blood in the first few hours and this may soak into the dressing.
3. If there is any blood crusted around the wound, this should be gently soaked away as far as possible with cotton wool soaked in water. Dab the wound but do not wipe as this may disrupt the stitches.
4. After the first 48 hours the wound may be left open to the air, but you may wish to cover it with a plaster if you feel it is unsightly or that the stitches might be disturbed (e.g by rubbing from clothing).
5. After the first 48 hours brief contact with water in the shower or bath is possible, but the wound should not be soaked. When drying the area the skin should be dabbed gently to avoid disrupting the stitches.
6. If you choose to cover the wound with a plaster, avoid getting the adhesive in contact with the stitches as this may disrupt them.
7. Check the wound at least every 2 days (soak the plaster if necessary). The wound should not bleed, discharge or scab after the first 24 hours. If it does, or if the skin around the wound looks red, or you feel unwell, the wound may have become infected. Wound infection is uncommon but if you have any concerns about the wound, contact us on 01274 864638, or if necessary, your own GP.
8. If the stitches have been placed beneath the skin they will be absorbed and do not need to be removed. Occasionally, after a few weeks a fragment of stitch will appear along the line of the wound. If this happens there may be a small red spot with some scaling and you may see what looks like a little white cotton thread. If this does not easily lift out it will usually separate by itself within a few days.
9. Occasionally, after a few weeks a wound will become raised or thickened and may be itchy or tender. If this occurs there are sometimes treatments which can help improve the scar and you may wish to discuss this with your GP.
10. Your stitches will normally be removed by the practice nurse at your own GP surgery.