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Prevention of Getting Wounds

Surgical wound care

An incision is a "cut" through the skin that is made during surgery. It also called a "surgical wound." Some incisions are small, and others are very long. The size of the incision will depend on the kind of surgery you had.

Do not wear tight clothing that rubs against the incision while it is healing.

Sometimes, a surgical wound will break open (wound dehiscence). This may happen along the entire cut or just part of it. Your doctor may decide not to close it again with sutures, or stitches.

If your doctor does not close your wound again with sutures, you will need to learn how to care for it at home, as it heals slowly.

Proper Hand Washing

You will need to wash your hands many times when you change your wound dressing and clean your wound. Follow these steps:

Removing the Old Dressing

Your doctor will tell you how often to change your dressing. Be prepared before starting the dressing change:

Remove the old dressing:

Caring for the Wound

You may use a gauze pad or soft cloth to clean your wound:

Your doctor may also ask you to irrigate, or wash out, your wound:

Do not put any lotion, cream, or herbal remedies on or around your wound without asking your doctor first.

Putting on the New Dressing

Place the clean dressing on the wound as your doctor or nurse taught you to. You may be using a wet-to-dry dressing. See also: Wet to dry dressing changes

Wash your hands well with soap and water when you are finished.

Throw away all the old dressings and other used supplies in a waterproof plastic bag. Close it tightly, then double it before putting it in the trash.

Wash any soiled laundry from the dressing change separately from other laundry. Ask your doctor if you need to add bleach to the wash water.

Use a dressing only 1 time. Never reuse it.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor if:

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