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Discharge Instructions: Caring for Your Incision

You are going home with sutures (stitches) or surgical staples in place. Or you also may have special strips of tape called Steri-Strips for additional support. One of these items was used to close your incision, help stop bleeding, and speed healing. Follow the tips on this sheet to help your incision heal.

Home Care

  • Always wash your hands before touching your incision.

  • Keep your incision clean and dry.

  • Avoid doing things that could cause dirt or sweat to get on your incision.

  • Don’t pick at scabs. They help protect the wound.

  • Keep your incision out of water.

  • Bathe or shower only as directed.

  • To keep the incision dry when around water, cover it with a plastic bag or plastic wrap.

  • Pat sutures dry if they get wet. Don’t rub.

  • Leave the dressing (bandage) in place until you are told to remove it or change it. Change it only as directed, using clean hands.

  • After the first 12 hours, change your dressing every 24 hours or as directed.

  • Change your dressing if it gets wet or soiled.


Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.


When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Increased pain, bleeding, redness, swelling, or foul-smelling discharge around the incision area

  • Fever of 100.4°F or higher

  • Shaking chills

  • Vomiting or nausea that doesn’t go away

  • Numbness, coldness, or tingling around the incision area

  • Opening of the sutures or wound, or if the skin opens after being closed with a glue-like substance


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