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Q&A - What to Do About Pus from an Incision After Surgery

Infected Incision Care


Updated May 29, 2014

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Question: My surgical incision has pus coming out of it. Is this serious and what should I do?


Pus coming from an incision is a sign of infection, which is both good and bad news. It is good, because pus means your body has started to fight the infection, but it is bad news, because your surgical incision is clearly infected. In patients who have a compromised immune system, pus may never form in an infected incision.

Calling your surgeon should be a priority. Your surgeon may prescribe antibiotics, ointments or a special incision care program. Antibiotics are important, because they will help your body heal faster and may prevent the infection from becoming worse. In addition, your surgeon may want to see your incision to make sure there isn’t a deeper underlying problem.

You also need to resist the urge to scrub your incision, slather it with antibiotic ointment or clean it with alcohol or peroxide. Until your surgeon gives you new instructions, keep your incision clean by using soap and water like you normally would during a shower. Keep it dry with a clean bandage or by leaving it uncovered, whichever was recommended in your instructions for incision care after surgery.

More Information: Answers To Common Questions After Surgery


Incision Care. Notre Dame Health Services. 2004 http://uhs.nd.edu/assets/9487/incision_care_08.pdf

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