Caring for Sutures
So your surgery is over and youíve been sent home with sutures. Be prepared
to handle the site with care. These sutures will be with you for at least a few
days, depending on your situation and the area of the body thatís affected. Itís
extremely important that you follow all your surgeonís instructions on how to
care for the site to ensure proper healing and minimal scarring.
Hereís how to ensure proper healing:
- Begin washing with soap and water 24 hours after surgery. Wash the
area twice daily.
- Your surgeon might prescribe an antibiotic ointment. You will want to
apply this to the site after washing.
- You will need to have your sutures removed on the day designated by your
surgeon. Itís very important that you adhere to this, because leaving
the sutures in longer than needed can cause unnecessary scarring.
What to watch for:
- Redness that goes beyond the basic edge of the wound.
- Fever over 100 degrees (sign of an infection).
- Any unusual coloring or discharge, including pus.
- Unusual tenderness or swelling. Remember, you will experience the most
tenderness in the second day, but it should subside each day thereafter.
If there is any indication that this is not happening, contact your
- Stitches that come out sooner than expected. If this happens, contact
your doctor immediately.
Even after you have your stitches removed, your surgeon might recommend
caring for the site with an ointment or cream. Protect the site
from any unnecessary injury for at least four weeks following stitch removal. If
you have stitches that dissolve, make sure you understand exactly when they
should dissolve and how to care for the site during and after that period.
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