Taking Care of Your Child after Skin Surgery
When you go home, try to get your child to rest for the rest of the day - watch TV, read, listen to the radio, play board games, or take a nap.
If your child is fussy or complains of any pain, give Tylenol® or pain medicine that has been prescribed every 4-6 hours in the dose advised by your pediatrician. Do not give any aspirin or ibuprofen.
When the surgery is done on an arm or leg, try to keep an ice bag on the area (used 20 minutes on/20 minutes off) for 2 to 4 hours and keep it raised up on a pillow for 48 hours. If your child is very active and can’t sit still, this is not needed. We know this can be a challenge!
Keep the bulky white top dressing (pressure dressing) in place for at least 48 hours.
Leave the flat dressing (steri-strip) on your child’s skin until the sutures are removed.
Bleeding is rare. When it occurs, it is most often during the first 48 hours. A small amount of blood on the inner layer of dressing is expected. If blood is noted soaking through the dressing, apply firm direct pressure for 10 minutes (without peeking). This will stop most bleeding. Apply more dressings over the wound. It is better not to remove the soiled pressure dressing until after 48 hours. If bleeding does not stop, call our office.
Try to keep the dressing dry until the stitches are removed. Cover with plastic wrap or wash around it. Sponge bathing is advised. If the dressing becomes wet, it must be removed to prevent infection. The area can be gently cleansed with hydrogen peroxide and clean water. Reapply dressing after the site is air-dried completely.
If the dressing is soiled by drainage from the wound or becomes detached, it may need to be removed and replaced with a non-stick dressing. Leave the “steri-strips” in place. A small amount of drainage is normal. Always use paper tape. You can always add more tape to a loose dressing to keep it in place.
Your child should not be allowed to take part in gym class at school. Do not allow rough play or brisk exercise at home. Your doctor will discuss the proper time to resume these activities when the stitches are removed.
If you have any questions or problems please call our clinic at (608) 287-2450 or
(608) 263-6420 or call hospital operator (608) 262-0486 and ask to speak with the Dermatology Resident on call. If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8742.
UW Dermatology Department
1 S. Park St 7th Floor
Madison, WI 53715
Clinic: 608 287-2450
American Family Children’s Hospital
Pediatric Dermatology Specialty Clinic
1675 Highland Ave.
Madison, WI 53792
Clinic: 608 263-6420
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #7156.
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: 02/23/2011
Copyright © 06/25/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6487
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