Wound Care After A Surgery

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The first thing that needs to be understood is how a wound has been closed after a surgery. Different methods of wound closing might require different type of care.

Surgical wounds can be closed by:

- Stitches

Stitches can be applied through or under the skin. Stitches are either self dissolvable or will require another visit to the doctors for removal.

- Staples

Staples are similar to commonly used office staples and are made of metal. Used to hold the skin together they also need a visit to the doctors for removal.

- or Glue

Glue as the name suggests, is a special formulated adhesive made to be applied to the human body. This is applied on the edges of the wound and comes off itself.

Another aspect of surgery that a patient needs to understand is how the wound is bandaged.

Most wounds need to be bandaged after surgery. This helps in accelerating the healing. Under normal circumstances a surgical wound bandage is removed within a day, so as to leave the wound open to air; to facilitate healing. In an outpatient surgery, patients are instructed to remove the bandage themselves.

If everything is going as per plan and nothing adverse happens, surgical wounds usually require very little care. Unless instructed otherwise, the general instructions that are given are:

1. The wound should be kept clean and dry for 48 to 72 hours.
2. Wound inspection should take place every day. By the doctor, nurses or by a caregiver, if you are recovering at home. This is done to regularly check for any infections.
3. Scab formation is normal over wounds. If you see one on your wound, do not pull it off. It is natures that put it there to protect your wound.

Usually doctors permit showering after 3 days of performing the surgery.

In most cases, you can shower approximately 3 days after your surgery, unless instructed otherwise. Although you will be allowed to bathe, it is better to avoid using scented soaps, talcum powder, shower gel or lotions around the wound. This can cause irritation.

Showering will obviously make your wound wet. Care should be taken not to rub the wound dry; instead it should be patted lightly until it has dried. Activities which require the wound to be soaked are discouraged e.g. Tub baths, swimming, Jacuzzi etc. you should ask your doctor for permission before indulging in these. 

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