Dealing with sutures and stitches after an operation can be frustrating, especially when at home and without the proper means to take care of an injury. Here are some post-surgery wound care tips:
Listen to Your Doctor
As always, the most important part of post-op care is to listen to your doctor. Depending on the surgery, your doctor may recommend different methods of pain management, different positions to rest in, and even different foods to eat after an operation, so their word always comes first. For example, someone who had surgery on their chest may need to lay differently than someone who had just gotten their leg operated on.
Listening to your doctor also includes attending any follow-up or physical therapy appointments that follow an operation as well. Follow-ups are vital for tracking recovery and finding complications in the healing process.
Avoid Dry Skin
When caring for stitches and sutures, it’s important to keep them from drying out. To help with this, your doctor may prescribe a topical cream to prevent infection and keep the area around your stitches moist. Other times, keep your wound from drying out by applying a thin coat of petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) over the wound with a cotton swab. Then to keep the jelly from rubbing off, cover it with a bandage or gauze.
If the area around your stitches looks red, that’s relatively normal. However, when the skin gets bright red, hurts, or you see fluid leaking from the wound, you’ve got an infection. To prevent infection, always clean your wound frequently using warm, clean water and a soft cloth. You can also use saline wound cleaner to clean a wound as well. Pat the area dry with gauze. After cleaning, reapply any petroleum jelly or bandages that you need. It’s recommended to clean stitches around twice a day, but if the area around your stitches gets dirty otherwise, consider cleaning it again.
Right after a surgery, pain management is best found in the painkillers you’ve been prescribed or recommended to take. If you can, take them. If pain continues after the wound has mostly healed, consider speaking with your doctor. If pain continues after a wound has healed past the point of bleeding, TENS therapy may come in handy to aid further recovery.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact your primary care physician. To browse wound care products and pain management therapies, visit Medical Supply Depot.