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Wound Care: Skin Graft

Cleanse your skin graft once daily.  Be sure to wash your hands first.  Wash gently with soap and water.  Make sure that you remove any dried blood or scab that has formed.  Gently blot the area dry.  Cover the entire skin graft with a layer of vaseline and keep the skin graft covered with a non-stick bandage or Band-Aid.  Showering is allowed, but do not allow the water to hit the skin graft directly.  Some drainage is normal.

Left to heal on its own

If your wound has been left to heal on its own:

Cleanse your wound once daily with warm soap and water.  Make sure to remove any dried blood or scab that has formed.  Gently blot the wound dry.  Cover the entire wound with a layer of vaseline.  Keep the wound covered with a non-stick bandage or band-aid.  Showering is allowed, but change the bandage if it becomes wet.  Some drainage is normal.

Sutures

If your wound has been sutured but not taped:

You will need to clean along your suture line once daily.  First wash your hands, then gently clean the suture line with soap and water.  Make sure that you remove any dried blood or scab that has formed.  Gently blot the wound dry to remove any excess moisture.  Coat the suture line with a layer of vaseline.  Cover this with a non-stick bandage to keep the ointment in place.  Showering is allowed and soap and water may run over your stitches, but the shower should not spray directly onto the incision line.  Some drainage is normal.

GENERAL WOUND CARE INSTRUCTIONS

If you have been instructed to ice your surgery site, you should do the ice compress over your pressure bandage.  Ice should be applied for 10-15 minutes only.  Repeat this every 2 hours for the day of the surgery until bedtime.  A bag of frozen vegetable, such as peas, makes a good ice compress.

DO NOT take any medications containing aspirin, ibuprofen or vitamin E for 2 days after your surgery, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

DO NOT drink alcohol for 2 days after your surgery.

DO NOT exercise for 3-4 days after your surgery.  Certain surgeries will require longer periods of time off of exercise as instructed by your doctor.

After your surgery there is always a risk for the following potential complications:

Signs of infection

Increasing redness and pain surrounding your surgery site.  It is normal for the edges of the wound to be pink or red, but redness should not spread out beyond the wound edges.  Increasing pain should be reported to our office.

A yellow film on your bandage or in an open wound is NORMAL and is NOT an infection.  Green, thick or foul smelling discharge on the bandage may indicate an infection and should be reported to our office.

Bleeding

It is normal to see a small amount of blood on the pressure dressing when you remove it.  If blood leaks out of the bandage within the first 24 hours, hold firm pressure directly over the top of the bandage, without removing it for 20 minutes.  If the bleeding does not stop, hold pressure for another 20 minutes.  Do not interrupt this pressure to “peek”.  If the bleeding still does not stop call our office immediately.

Hematoma

If blood slowly accumulates under the skin, this is called a hematoma.  Your wound will become swollen and very hard to the touch and you may experience increasing amounts

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