The purpose of wound suturing:
To help wound healing and prevent wound infection.
Sutured wound care steps:
- Supplies: 0.9% saline water (2-3 small bottles); sterile cotton swabs; povidone-iodine; antibiotic ointment; sterile gauze pad; adhesive tape and steri-strip. Buy your supplies from pharmacy or medical supply store.
- Remove the old wound dressing. Use saline water to loosen sticky parts of gauze. Carefully loosen the old dressing, then remove it.
- Observe the wound (size, appearance and amount, color or smell of discharge). Put on the gloves and touch wound area to feel if there are any signs of infection, including redness, swelling, heat or pain.
- Wet a cotton swab with saline water and carefully clean the wound without contamination. Start from the center of wound and then move out 2-3 cm of the outer edge (Note: Ensure one cotton swab is only used at once.)
- After the wound is cleaned, wipe dry from the inside out with a dry cotton swab.
- Apply beta-dine solution on the wound for at least 30 seconds for the wound disinfection.
- Wet a swab with saline water to wash out the beta-dine, then wipe dry from the inside out with a dry cotton swab.
- Apply antibiotic ointment on the wound. Cover the wound with sterile gauze pads and their size must be 1 cm greater than the wound. Use adhesive tape to fix the gauze (Moist, oily, and sweaty skin may impair tape adhesion).
- Wash your hands with soap. Apply the sterile supplies or antibiotic ointment as prescribed (watch out for cap clean), and never use any substance with an unknown origin.
- Keep the sutured wound dry and clean. Change the dressing immediately if it gets wet.
- Sutured wound may have mild swelling and pain within 12 to 24 hours after procedure. Elevate the wound and place ice packs to reduce your discomforts.
- If the stitches over joints, such as your knees or elbows or knees, please less move the joints in order not to stretch your stiches.
- Consume more protein (e.g. meat, eggs, milk, or fish, etc.) and choose fruits rich in vitamin C (e.g. kiwi, oranges, or apples, etc.) to promote wound healing.
- Take medication as prescribed and return to the clinic to have your stitches removed.
- Stitches on your face–you'll need to return after 5 to 7 days for removing stitches. Stitches over joints– you'll need to return after 10 to 14 days for removing stitches. Stitches on other parts of your body – you'll need to return after 7 to 10 days removing stitches.
- Sterile surgical tape (e.g. Steri-Strips) can be used to keep wound closure and reduce scar formation within 3months post stitches removed.
When to go to the clinic (by doctor instruction):
Any of the following symptoms at your wound indicate poor healing: The wound appears to have opened or increasing redness, swelling, heat, pain, or pus-like drainage, and a fever, feeling cold and shivering. Please visit your doctor immediately.
- Huang, Y. F. (2017). Wound Care. In Chou, H. L. Editor, Basic Nursing (3th ed., pp.492-527). Taipei City, Taiwan, ROC: Farseeing.
- Lee, M. M., Lin H. J., & Tan, J. Y. (2017). Nursing Care of the Surgical Patient. In Chou, H. L. Editor, Medical-Surgical Nursing Skills an Techniques (8th ed., pp.137-143). Taipei City, Taiwan, ROC: Farseeing.
- Yu, P. J. (2017).The new concepts of wound care (3nd ed.). Taipei City, Taiwan, ROC: Farseeing.