Patient Dressings

This is some simple information to help you care for your wound and dressing.

Changing the dressing

You can leave the original dressing in place for up to five days (or for as long as advised by your Doctor or Nurse) providing that it’s dry and not soaked with blood, and that there are no signs of infection.

Before you remove the dressing, wash your hands with soap and water and then carefully take off the dressing. Try not to touch the healing wound with your fingers.

Your wound may then be left without a dressing. However, you might like to continue wearing one over the area for protection, especially if your clothing rubs against it. The hospital may give you a replacement dressing for you to use at home. Apply the dressing carefully and don’t touch the inside of it. Don’t use antiseptic cream under the dressing.

Bathing and showering

It’s usually possible for you to have a bath or a shower about 48 hours after the procedure, but this will depend on the particular operation you have – ask your nurse for advice.

  • If possible, have showers rather than baths so that your wound doesn’t soak in water – this could soften the scar tissue and cause your wound to reopen. Only have a bath if you can keep your wound out of the water.
  • Remove any dressing before you have a bath or shower, unless your surgeon or nurse gives you different advice. Some dressings are waterproof and can be left in place.
  • Don’t use any soap, shower gel, body lotion, talcum powder or other bathing products directly over your healing wound.
  • You can let the shower water gently splash onto your healing wound. However, don’t rub the area, as this might be painful and could delay the healing process.
  • Dry the surrounding area carefully by patting it gently with a clean towel but allow your wound to air dry.
  • If you had surgery on your face, don’t wear make-up over the scar until it has fully healed.

Signs that a wound has become infected include (you may not have all they symptoms)

  • swelling of the affected area —– pus forming in the affected area
    • redness spreading from the cut or graze —– increasing pain in the wound
    • feeling generally unwell —– a high temperature of 38°C (100.4°F ) or above
    • swollen glands

If you suspect your wound is infected, please contact the surgery and ask for a same day appointment to have your wound checked.If the surgery is closed, please telephone 111 for advice