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Wound Care Instructions After Your Skin Surgery

This information describes how to care for your wound after skin surgery.

Caring for your wound after skin surgery is important. It will help prevent infection and promote healing with little pain or discomfort. Your nurse will review these instructions with you before you go home.

Caring for Your Wound at Home

  1. Leave your bandage on your wound for _____ hours and keep it clean and dry.
  2. When you get home, put an ice pack over your bandage for 10 minutes, if instructed. Do this 3 to 4 times until bedtime the first day.
  3. You may shower after _____ hours. Do not soak your wound in a bath.
  4. Remove your outer bandage after _____ hours. If your Steri-Strips® (thin adhesive strips) are in place, leave them intact and do not remove them.
  5. Clean your wound daily with ______________________________________.

Or, if instructed, soak your wound with gauze and ______________________.

Gently pat your wound dry with a clean gauze pad.

Use cotton applicators or gauze to put _______________ ointment on your wound.

Cover your wound with a Band-Aid® or a bandage cut to the size of your wound. If you use a bandage, keep it in place with paper tape.

Important Points

  • Swelling and bruising are common after skin surgery. They usually go away over several days.
  • If you have any bleeding, press on your wound continuously with a clean gauze pad for 15 minutes. If the bleeding does not stop, call your doctor.
  • You can take extra strength acetaminophen (Tylenol® ) to relieve any discomfort.
  • Do not do strenuous exercise, heavy lifting, or swim for _______ weeks.

Special Instructions

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Call Your Doctor or Nurse if You Have:

  • A temperature of 101° F (38.3° C) or higher
  • Any of the following symptoms at your wound or the area around it:
    • Increasing redness or swelling
    • Increasing pain or discomfort
    • Skin that is hot to the touch
    • Yellowish drainage
    • Bleeding that doesn't stop after applying pressure
  • Any questions or unexpected problems