Wound Care for Sutured Wounds - Dermatology/Mohs/Derm Surgery Clinic
This handout tells how to care for your wound once you are home. A nurse will review this with you before you leave.
When to Start Wound Care
You should start wound care on____________________________________. Keep your dressing clean and dry until then. Clean your wound daily until sutures are removed.
Supplies You Will Need
- Clean cotton swabs (Q-tips®)
- Double antibiotic ointment or Vaseline®
- Band-aids® and/or Telfa pads
Care of the Wound
- Wash your hands well with soap and water.
- Take off the old dressing. If it sticks, wet the edges of the dressing with water, or remove it while in the shower.
- Shower daily with the bandage off or clean the area under running tap water. Use a mild soap and water.
- Apply double antibiotic ointment or Vaseline® in a thin layer. You may use a clean cotton swab to apply the ointment, rolling the swab gently over the wound.
- Cover with a Telfa pad or a Band-aid® thick enough to soak up any drainage and protect the wound. Keep the wound covered until the sutures are removed.
- Some wounds may bleed slightly.
- If bleeding does occur and soaks through your bandage, don’t remove the bandage. Cover the bandage with a clean gauze pad. Apply constant pressure without letting up.
- If bleeding does not stop after 20 minutes of constant pressure, call the clinic or go to the emergency room.
- Bruises are common, and should go away in 2-3 weeks. No treatment is needed. If you have a bruise that appears to get worse after 2-3 days or if swelling increases after 24-48 hours, call the clinic.
If your wound is on your face, head, or neck:
- Sleep with your head up on 2 pillows so the swelling will be less.
- Avoid bending with your head below your heart.
If your wound is on your arm or leg:
- Keep your arm or leg raised as much as you can. Wounds on the arm or leg may heal more slowly than other areas. These measures will help you to swell less and heal better.
- An Ace or elastic wrap can be used to decrease swelling and to support the area during activity you cannot avoid. Do not wrap the area tightly
Watch for any signs of infection.
- Temperature greater than 100.4°F by mouth for 2 readings, 4 hours apart.
- Increased tenderness or swelling at the site.
- Increased amount of blood or pus-like drainage.
- Redness that spreads out from the wound after 24-48 hours.
Most patients have little pain. If your wound is painful, you may take Tylenol® every 3-4 hours as needed. Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen products for 72 hours.
Stitches and Scarring
If you have stitches, you will have to return to the clinic to have them removed. A time will be given to you to come back to the clinic.
You will have a scar at the wound site. Some scars may thicken and flatten out in 3-6 months. Thick scars may require more treatment. Time improves most scars. You may use cover-up makeup when the wound is healed.
Do not do any strenuous activity until okayed by your doctor Ask if you are unsure.
If you are not having a Mohs procedure, you will be called or a letter will be mailed to you in 7-14 days with the results of your test. A follow-up clinic visit may be scheduled.
If you have any questions or concerns call the Dermatology Clinic where you were seen weekdays between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm.
UW Clinic East Dermatology/Mohs Surgery
5249 E. Terrace Drive
Madison, Wi. 53718
West Dermatology/Derm Surgery
451 Junction Rd.
Madison, Wi. 53717
After hours, holidays and weekends, you will reach the paging operator. Ask for the Dermatology doctor on call. Leave your name and phone number with area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 03/19/2010
Copyright © 03/19/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6409
Print Health Fact For You