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How to Care For a Surgical Incision


Updated April 11, 2014

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Proper Care of a Surgical Incision
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Proper Hand Washing Technique

Image: © Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Surgical incisions require care in order to heal quickly and completely without becoming infected. Closed surgical incisions require the same care whether they were closed with sutures, staples, steri-strips or surgical glue. Open incisions, or incisions that are left open for the surgeon to close at a later time, require very different care from the standard closed incision.

If you have had surgery and your incision is still healing, plan on showering at least once a day if you are able. A shower is an ideal way to clean your incision and remove soap residue without softening the incision to the point of weakness. If you cannot shower, it is best to take a “sponge bath” rather than bathe for the first few weeks if you cannot bathe without soaking your incision for an extended period of time.

When Can I Take a Bath and Swim?

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