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Step-by-Step Surgical Bandage Change Instructions


Updated April 09, 2014

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Clean the Incision

Cleaning your incision can be done with soap and water. You can clean your incision in the shower, or you can do it at the sink. If you are providing this care for a surgery patient who cannot move to the bathroom, be sure to use a fresh and clean washcloth or other material to clean the incision and another clean washcloth to pat the incision dry.

Use soap and water to gently clean the incision, you do not have to use antibacterial soap. Do not scrub the incision, remove scabs, or attempt to clean the sutures or staples.

Pat the incision dry or allow it to air dry. Do not put the bandage on a damp incision unless you are changing a “wet to dry” dressing, which has its own method not discussed here.

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