Caring for surgical wounds

At the end of the operation, the margins of the incision are joined together so that the wound may heal. Follow the treatment steps below:

Graphical representation of hand washing as a wound treatment step in the Leukoplast wound care advisor.

1. Wash your hands:

Wash and dry hands thoroughly or wear disposable gloves when tending to a surgical wound.
Graphical representation of a running tap to illustrate the rinsing of the wound as a wound treatment step in the Leukoplast wound care advisor.

2. Clean the wound:

“Clean the wound under drinking-quality running tap water.
Note: avoid using antiseptic as it may damage the skin and slow healing. Use sterile saline for wound cleansing up to 48 hours after surgery.” 1

Graphic representation of a hand absorbing fluid with a cloth to illustrate drying of the wound as a wound treatment step.

3. Dry the skin:

Pat the area dry with a clean towel.
Note: while drying the wound monitor the wound for any signs of infection, such as increased warmth and redness, swelling, increased pain and tenderness, purulent discharge, or unpleasant odor.

Graphic representation of a hand pressing a compress on a wound to illustrate the stopping of the bleeding as a treatment step.

4. Stop the bleeding:

If the wound is bleeding, apply gentle pressure to the area with a clean gauze bandage or cloth and elevate the wound until the bleeding stops.
Graphic representation of a hand applying a wound dressing to another wrist to symbolize covering the wound as a treatment step.

5. Dress the wound:

Apply a sterile adhesive dressing, such as one of the specialized wound dressings below.

The dressing can be changed daily if necessary or whenever it becomes wet or dirty.

  • Do not touch or scratch the healing wound with your fingers
  • Take care not to touch the inside of the new dressing so that it remains clean
  • You may shower safely 48 hours after surgery

When to seek medical advice

A visit to the doctor is necessary if

  • the wound shows signs of infection.
  • you notice an elevated body temperature (above 37.5 °C).

How to recognize an infected wound

If a wound becomes infected, it may

  • become more painful,
  • be warm to touch,
  • look red or swollen,
  • leak some blood-like liquid, pus or blood,
  • have an unpleasant smell

If you notice an elevated body temperature (above 37.5 °C) or see any of the signs mentioned, please contact your health care practitioner! 2

When in doubt, see a medical expert

Many common wounds can be dealt with at home. But when should a doctor be consulted? Scroll down for more information!

Pictogram showing a medical expert.

Expert wound care for surgical wounds

Leukomed® T plus

Skin-friendly sterile dressing with wound pad for small to medium-sized wounds.

Leukomed® T plus skin sensitive

Waterproof wound dressing for those with fragile or compromised skin.