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Post-operative Hygiene and Wound Care

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 28 Jun 2019 | comments*Discuss
Post-operative Hygiene And Wound Care

Post-Operative Hygiene And Wound Care.

Going into hospital for an operation or procedure can be frightening enough for most patients without the worry of getting an infection following surgery so it is important to understand how these incidences can be prevented.

Post-Operative Wound Care.

Wounds are usually closed in layers are using stitches, staples or skin glue. All of these methods are suitable depending on the nature of the wound and will protect the wound from re-opening. Dressings are given to prevent bacteria and other pathogens from being able to settle and grow in the disrupted tissues. Patients must realise that these things exist for their own health and safety and should refrain from tampering with them until they are healed or they have been told that they are safe to change their own dressings.It can be very tempting to take a little look at your wound following surgery but this increases the chances of developing an infection.

Hygiene And Wound Care.

It can be difficult maintaining hygiene whilst in hospital especially if your surgery has altered your normal level of mobility but it is essential to try and keep clean and dry. A simple wash using warm water and soap should be enough to help keep germs and bacteria away.Patients also have the right to ask staff to wash their hands before any direct contact and wash and change their bed when needed. The staff are there to care for you and protect your safety and will be happy to oblige. The government are introducing new schemes that encourage both staff and patients to be proactive in the fight against infection and this should be encouraged at all times.

After Discharge.

Wound care does not just start and finish in a hospital as there are many things patients can do at home to help prevent an infection getting onto their wound.It is not uncommon for patients to go home with their stitches still in situ which may need removing at a later date. Although many people are now given absorbable stitches, there are some who still need the non-absorbable ones.Stitches and scars can become itchy as the wound heals and it can be very tempting to scratch the itch but this should be avoided at all costs. Not only might it introduce bacteria to the wound but it may affect how the scar heals and how the stitches are holding the wound together. Patients who do experience itching must not give in to the urge and resist it until the doctor or nurse removes them or they have completely dissolved.

Stitches are usually remove 7 – 10 days after surgery or will have disintegrated or be below the healed surface of the skin within around 3 weeks depending on the type of stitch used. Do not ever try and remove the stitches yourself as this seriously increases the risk of infection and may stop the wound closing properly. If you are concerned about your stitches or feel the wound is re-opening please see your GP or Practice nurse who will assess your wound.Dressings may need changing and your nurse may suggest you do this yourself if you feel able.

Always remember to wash and dry your hands thoroughly using warm water, a gentle soap and a clean towel before changing the dressing. Unless you have been explicitly told to keep the wound dry for a specified period of time, most people feel most comfortable soaking the old dressing off in the bath or shower before reapplying the new one.

Hospital acquired infections and wound infections are a very serious occurrence and their prevention relies on not just the healthcare staff but the patients themselves.

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I had bunion surgery and hammer toe surgery at the same time' its 12days now and i go for stiches out after 15days' (next tues) but the bandage is driving me mad'was told not to remove it whatsoever' what to i do
Suzy - 28-Jun-19 @ 9:29 PM
What can be used for anti itching around my wound as the skin has become dry and flakey n extreamly itching all the time as of which im petrified of reopenin my wound as i had laproscopic cholycystectomy please help its it an infection or just the healin process coz i have 4 wounds 2 ov which itch but the other 2 smaller inscisions dont please help coz its drivin me craziiii
TARA - 15-Apr-17 @ 12:49 PM
My husband had his kidney removed on Feb10th. He just took a shower and is itching constantly at one area where surgery was done. What can be done to alleviate the severe itching?
Marcie - 21-Feb-17 @ 12:56 AM
Can i apply any OIL or BIO OIL on the irritation part of the stitches
Peter - 15-Feb-17 @ 10:24 AM
Hi,i had a laparascopy a year ago,i have been ok since. Three of my scars healed well but 1 is itching.I was not able to wear a bra for 6 months and now im back to square 1 the wound between my breasts itches like hell,someone help me
Mary - 3-Feb-17 @ 3:15 PM
I was told by a nurse I can take my dressing off after my abdcess removal surgery 6 days ago I can take it off and go into the clinic straight away how long can i leave my dressing off without causing an infection
Niamh - 3-Oct-16 @ 12:02 PM
Brunettebarbie101 - Your Question:
I Had Ankle Sugery To Remove My 2 Screws Out My Ankle And Its Has Been Maybe A Week After Sugery And My Stitches Itches And I Just Wanna Scratch Them Is Therr Any Thing I Can Do For Itchy Stitches or Do I Just Suffer Thru It ~14 Yr Old Sara

Our Response:
I feel for you. The feeling of wanting to scratch a wound can be overwhelming and the irritation can send a person almost bonkers with frustration. Of course, it's the last thing you need to do and can more damage than good if you give in to it. A cold compress can take away some of the most annoying symptoms - you can even use a bag of peas from the freezer. Holding it on the would for a short period of time should help in the short term. Using a gentle moisturiser on the surrounding skin will also help cool the situation. Avoid wearing socks that rub and in addition, you can also buy some gel or cream to apply. Ask your local pharmacist what he/she would recommend. At the same time watch for any swelling or increased inflammation as it may mean your wound is becoming infected. I hope you have a speedy recovery.
HygieneExpert - 26-Jul-16 @ 10:02 AM
I Had Ankle Sugery To Remove My 2 Screws Out My Ankle And Its Has Been Maybe A Week After Sugery And My Stitches Itches And I Just Wanna Scratch Them Is Therr Any Thing I Can Do For Itchy Stitches or Do I Just Suffer Thru It ~14 Yr Old Sara
Brunettebarbie101 - 25-Jul-16 @ 5:08 AM
Claire - Your Question:
I had a lapraroscopy last Wednesday and past few days my stitches have been stinging and itching is there anything I can do about this my stitches are dissolvable so don't need them taking out.

Our Response:
If the itching becomes too much, then your GP/nurse may be able to prescribe and anti-itch cream. I hope they get better soon.
HygieneExpert - 8-Dec-15 @ 2:58 PM
I had a lapraroscopy last Wednesday and past few days my stitches have been stinging and itching is there anything I can do about this my stitches are dissolvable so don't need them taking out.
Claire - 7-Dec-15 @ 10:13 PM
I have had a total abdominal hysterectomy 11 days ago.I had the staples removed 3 days ago.One of the staples that was removed has left that tiny area weeping, is this normal? The area is only 1cm, will it heal by itself or should i see the nurse?
Sam - 18-Jan-14 @ 10:52 AM
Hi, I had a laparoscopy done about 1 and a half week ago my problem is the itching where they removed the stitches. Somebody please help I know I shouldn't be scratching but I can't handle it any moy. PLEASE HeLP
Bonnie - 14-Aug-13 @ 9:34 AM
I had a lipoma below my breast. It has been operated.the stich was removed after 10days. I stil feel sharp pains sometimes. How do I take care of my wound?
vickypool - 15-Jul-11 @ 7:12 AM
My two year old had an ear injury and was left with a small chunk missing from the lobe of his ear. He got plastic surgery to try and correct it and got a general anasthetic. They put dissolvable stitches in and made a Y shape but he pulled all his dressings off and his wound opened back up after five days. The doctor said they will have to leave it until he is older and knows that he can't touch it. I now wish I hadn't agreed to the surgery, they could have told us that in the first place because they knew that he kept trying to pull it off the first time round. The wound is going to take forever to heal again. It has all been a total wast of time and I'm at my wits end. Is going private with a top surgeon worth a try?
Nic - 21-May-11 @ 9:43 PM
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