Post-surgical wound care while you are in hospital is generally taken care of by your medical team. However, once you are discharged, it is important that you follow your surgeon’s advice to ensure a quick and uncomplicated recovery. Here are some of the guidelines you are likely to be given.
On being discharged from the hospital, it is important to get as much information about caring for your surgical wound as possible. Experts like Dr. Saidapet R. Sridhar always stress the importance of listening to the advice that you have been given, as it is tailored to suit you.
Check what type of stitches have been used. If they are dissolvable, they will usually disappear on their own in a time period of one to three weeks. However, if they are not dissolvable, you will need an appointment to have them removed. Do not pull at or try to remove them yourself. This could cause the wound to reopen and infection to set in. Similarly, be careful that your stitches or staples do not get rubbed or caught on clothing.
Although it is normal for your wound site to itch, you must not be tempted to scratch. Doing so could open the wound or transfer bacteria from your fingers into the wound.
Surgical wound care also requires correct use and changing of dressings. The initial dressing is usually left in place for between five and seven days. If you notice any discharge, swelling, pain or odor from the area covered by the dressing you should see a nurse, or your doctor, rather than changing the dressing yourself. If you are given dressings to change yourself as part of your wound care, you need to keep them sterile and ensure you wash your hands before opening the new dressing.
Infections Or Other Complications
The early signs of bacteria in a surgical wound include an increase in pain, swelling and heat coming from the wound. If the skin is kept clean and dry, healing the infection can happen with antibiotics. Where there are signs of leakage, bleeding or pus coming from the incision area of the wound, a sample may be sent off for medical diagnosis. This is essential for understanding the potential severity and right course of treatment. If the wound needs to be cleaned, it may be opened and either special dressings or Topical Negative Pressure Therapy used as surgical wound care.
Alternatively, larval therapy may be introduced to the wound. This is particularly useful if the wound is showing signs of necrosis. The use of sterile maggots is not a new therapy but is still relatively rare in mainstream medicine. As well as removing dead cells by ingesting them, the maggots produce an enzyme that is believed to reduce infection and promote the growth of healthy skin. The maggots will be flushed out of the wound after a few days. It is then cleansed and reclosed. Antibiotics may also be used in conjunction with this form of wound care to prevent infection from returning.