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Healthcare: Surgical Services

How to Care for a Closed Wound

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Types of wound closures

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Types of wound closures. Illustration by Scott Holmes
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A surgical wound is typically closed with stitches, staples, butterfly tape, or medical glue. Stitches look like thread or fishing line; do not remove them. Your doctor or nurse will do this. Staples are metal clips that need to be removed by a doctor or nurse. Glue may be used to seal your wound. The glue will come off on its own. Butterfly tape, or Steri-Strips, may be used to hold your wound closed, let these fall off on their own.

  • Change the outer bandage at least twice a day, or when it is dirty or wet.
  • Do not soak the wound by taking a bath or going swimming, but you can take a shower.
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  • Change the outer bandage at least twice a day, or when it is dirty or wet.
  • Do not soak the wound by taking a bath or going swimming, but you can take a shower.
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Changing the Dressing

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  • Wash your hands.
  • Remove the old gauze and bandage.
  • Clean the wound with clean water.
  • Cover the wound with new gauze and tape it on.