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The Experience

A Caregiver's Guide: Incision Care

Keeping the incision site clean and protected is an important part of the overall healing process:
  • Keep the incision dry.
  • Keep the incision covered with a light dressing until the
    staples are removed, (usually 10-14 days).
  • Patient should adhere to showering/bathing instructions
    from surgeon.
  • Notify the surgeon if there is increased drainage, redness,
    pain, odor or heat around the incision.
  • Take the patient's temperature if she feels warm or sick.
    Call the surgeon if it exceeds 100.5ºF.
Changing the Dressing

The surgeon may require the caregiver to change the bandage dressing. Follow the procedure below to properly change the dressing: 

1. Wash hands.

2.  Open all dressing change materials such as ABD pads and Betadine® swabs.

3.  Remove stocking and old dressing.

4.  Inspect incision for the following: increase in redness; increase in clear drainage; yellow/green drainage; odor; surrounding skin is hot to touch.

5. If Betadine® is ordered, take one swab and coat the incision from top to bottom. Then turn the swab over and coat the incision from bottom to top. Use remaining swab to coat the drain site.

6.  Pick up ABD pad by one corner and lay over incision. Be careful not to touch the inside of the dressing that will lie over the incision.

7.  Place one ABD pad lengthwise; place the other ABD crosswise to form a "T" (to cover drain site).

8.  Tape dressing in place.

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