Doctors and providers who treat this condition


Wound Check After Surgery: Infection

Your surgical wound has become infected.  Infection after surgery usually involves just the top layers of skin. Sometimes the infection is deeper in the wound and may involve a collection of fluid or pus. Treatment will depend on the type of infection you have.

Once antibiotic treatment is started the area of redness should not increase. Pain should start to decrease after two days of treatment.

Home Care:

  • Keep the wound clean and dry. Change the dressing as directed, or sooner, if the dressing becomes wet or stained with blood or fluid. 

  • If you were told to clean the wound:

    • Remove the old bandage and wash the wound with soap and water.

    • Clean with hydrogen peroxide on a cotton tip applicator (Q-tip) to remove any crust or drainage.

    • Apply an antibiotic cream or ointment such as Neosporin or Bacitracin.

    • Reapply the bandage.

  • Bathe with a sponge (no shower or tub baths) for the first few days after surgery, or until there is no more drainage from you wound. Then, you may shower, but do not soak the area in water (no baths or swimming) until the sutures, staples or steri-strips are removed and any wound opening has healed and become dry.

  • If antibiotics have been prescribed, take them exactly as directed until they are all gone.

  • You may use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) to control pain, unless another medicine was prescribed. [NOTE: If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.]

Follow Up

with your doctor as scheduled or as advised by our staff for your next wound check or suture/staple/tape removal.

Return Promptly

or contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Increasing pain at the site of surgery or pain not controlled by medicine prescribed

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Increasing redness around the wound

  • Fluid, pus or blood that continues to drain from the wound after five days of treatment

  • Vomiting, constipation or diarrhea

  • Shortness of breath or chest pain


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