David B. Pharis, M.D., P.C. Skin Cancer and Dermatologic Surgery

Sutured Wound Care

Sutured Wound Care

  1. After surgery, go home and take it easy. You should not do anything that requires you to bend, strain, lift or cause exertion for several days.
  2. After one to two days, remove the dressing. You may bathe regularly at this point and allow the wound to get wet.
  3. Clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide. If there is any crusting or scabbing, soak the wound with peroxide and remove as much of the crusting by gently rubbing the wound with a moist Q-tip or washcloth. Once there is no dried blood on the wound, you may discontinue the peroxide.
  4. Apply a layer of Aquaphor or Vaseline ointment over the stitches
  5. Cover the wound with a band-aid or small dressing.
  6. Repeat this daily until the top sutures have dissolved or are removed. (Typically 7-10 days for either.) Once the top sutures have dissolved or the wound has healed over, regular skin care and makeup can resume.

For Pain

Take one to two Extra Strength Tylenol or the prescription pain medication as needed. Do not take any aspirin or aspirin-like products for at least 48 hours as these may cause bleeding. Minimize alcohol intake for 24 hours. Alcohol can increase bruising and may interact with your pain medication.

For Bleeding

Apply pressure to the area for 15 minutes. If the bandage is saturated it may be replaced.

For Swelling

Use ice packs - 15 minutes at a time, one to two times an hour. A bag of frozen peas or other vegetable can be used. Swelling at the site may take three months for final resolution (the time it takes for any buried sutures to dissolve). Bruising may take 10-14 days to completely resolve.

Supplies Needed

  • Cotton tipped applicators (Q-tips)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Aquaphor or Vaseline ointment (an antibiotic ointment is not needed.)
  • Non-stick gauze pads (brand name: Telfa) and paper tape (brand name: Micropore); band-aids can be used if the site is small.

Important note regarding “buried” sutures:  Your sutured wound has a number of buried sutures placed beneath the surface of the skin that take as long as 3 months to dissolve.  Occasionally, a fragment of these buried sutures will cause a pimple-like reaction around 4 to 6 weeks after the surgery.  This is normal and will resolve on its own over a few days.  These suture reactions should not be misinterpreted as a wound infection.

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protection tip

Remember to apply sunscreen on cloudy days too since theultraviolet light penetrates easily through the clouds

Avoid sun exposure during mid-day hours (10 am to 4 pm) when the ultraviolet rays are most powerful.

Wear sun protective gear such as a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses and long sleeve shirts or pants.

Don't forget to protect your lips with a lip balm containing sunscreen.

Seek shade wherever possible





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