Clean a Post-Surgical Wound at Home

Edited by Olivia, Anonymous, Eng, Lynn and 2 others

Surgical wound dressing.jpg

Upon discharge from a hospital, you or a loved one may have a surgical wound called an incision. This incision needs to be cleaned and dressed every day to promote healing and prevent infection.

Dressing and cleaning the wound will also provide the opportunity to assess the development of the wound - whether its healing or infected or worse, the wound could become dehiscent.

Ad

What are the Process Involved in Wound Healing?

  1. 1
    Inflammation
    Inflammation.jpg
    When the skin is opened, it triggers a response to the brain to activate the cells near the wound
    .
    This is marked by the increased blood flow to the area, that you will notice is painful and red. After this accumulation of blood flow to the area, proliferation ensues.
    Advertisement
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  2. 2
    Proliferation
    Proliferation.jpg
    Happens when the cells starts engulfing bacteria in the wound and generate new tissue
    .
    This is a complex process that can be observed by the wound starting to form scabs and feeling tight. The cells "proliferate" the wound in order to cover and produce new tissue.
    Advertisement
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  3. 3
    Wound Maturation
    Eng-Wound maturation.jpg
    The cells that proliferated the wounded tissue start to mature, assuming the character and strength of the surrounding tissue
    .
    The whole process, from inflammation to maturation will take about 10 days to one year, depending on the complexity of the wound and the person's overall state of health.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Things you will need

Seeing the stitches may make you a bit wary of touching it, and more so of cleaning it. A nurse or a doctor can show you how to clean it on the day of your discharge, but you may not be up to the task of doing it. As such, here are some instructions on how to do it should you find someone who is up to the task to help you.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Arrange and prepare the materials that you will need. It will basically comprise the following:

Materials needed in dressing a surgical wound.jpg
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Basin
  • Gloves
  • Cotton soaked in sterile water or cooled boiled water
  • Syringe without the needle
  • Sterile forceps or tweezers. To sterilize forceps or tweezers, bring a small amount of water in a pan to boil. Soak the forceps or tweezers in the water right after boiling. Carefully remove the instruments and place them in a clean, dry cloth cotton swab, soaked in povidone solution (or a solution prescribed by the physician)
  • Dry gauze
  • Adhesive plaster
  • Trashbin/ Trash bag

Steps in Cleaning and Dressing A Surgical Wound

  1. 1
    Remove all jewelry from your hands then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
    Take time to clean in between the fingers and the nails to ensure that you will not be introducing microorganisms to the instruments that you will be holding while dressing the person's wound.
    Advertisement
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  2. 2
    Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dryer.
    Afterward, put on the gloves to protect you when you handle the soiled wound dressing.
    Wear gloves.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  3. 3
    The old wound dressing may be secured with adhesive tape.
    If it is not contraindicated to wet the area, apply a sterile-water soaked cotton ball to the tape. This will help loosen the tape's adhesive from the skin. As such, ease of removing the tape is facilitated without much discomfort to the person or patient.
    Adhered dressing.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  4. 4
    Very carefully remove the old dressing from the wound.
    If scab formation is already in process, do not try to remove the scab forcefully. You may also see the old dressing adhere to the wound because of dried drainage. Do not pull the dressing. Instead, get the syringe without the needle and aspirate sterile water. Direct the syringe with water to the wound where the dressing is adhered to the wound because of dried drainage. Push the plunger to release the water onto the wound to help loosen the dressing. Continue until the old dressing falls off.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  5. 5
    When you have removed the old dressing, inspect the wound for pus and unpleasant discharge.
    If the wound has pus or drainage, drain the pus first, using a dry cotton ball or gauze. If the wound seems to have opened up rather than start healing, notify the physician immediately.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  6. 6
    After the pus or other drainage has been dried out, clean the wound using cotton soaked in sterile water or cooled boiled water.
    If you do not have gloves, use the sterile forceps or tweezers. Clean the wound using the inner-to-outer principle, or from the cleanest to the dirtiest part.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  7. 7
    Afterwards, apply a povidone-iodine-soaked cotton to the wound.
    Let it dry for some time before finally covering the surgical wound with dry gauze. Secure the gauze with adhesive dressing tapes.
    Apply betadine solution.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  8. 8
    Dispose of the soiled dressings in an appropriately labeled trash bin or bag.
    Seal and dispose of properly to avoid transmission of infection.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

    Advertisement

Not all surgical wounds are cleansed and dressed as in the mentioned steps above. There are some surgical wounds that that require attention from people with special training, instructions and materials. It is highly recommended that post-surgical wounds be dressed and cleansed according to proper instruction from a health care professional.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Bibliography

  • kidshealth.org
  • nlm.nih.gov


Comments

VisiHow welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.




Oliviabacayao
Premier Author
24 Articles Started
1,008 Article Edits
22,230 Points
Oliviabacayao is a premier author with VisiHow. Oliviabacayao has achieved the level of "Lieutenant" with 22,230 points. Oliviabacayao has started 24 articles (including this one) and has also made 1,008 article edits. 259,000 people have read Oliviabacayao's article contributions.
Oliviabacayao's Message Board
Oliviabacayao: Hi, my name is Oliviabacayao.
Oliviabacayao: Can I help you with your problem about "Clean a Post-Surgical Wound at Home"?
 

Article Info

Categories : Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Robbi, Lynn, Eng

Share this Article:

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 2,744 times.

Do you have a question not answered in this article?
Click here to ask one of the writers of this article
x

Thank Our Volunteer Authors.

Would you like to give back to the community by fixing a spelling mistake? Yes | No