Post-operative wounds

Post-operative wounds, also called surgical wounds, occur after an incision performed by medical professionals in a targeted and precise manner under sterile conditions.

They are characterized by regular sharp, clean wound edges and often closed with sutures, glue or staples.  
In these cases, so-called dry wound care is recommended i.e. covering the wound with a dressing without providing moist wound healing conditions. 

An appropriate dressing for post-op wounds should therefore 

  • be sterile, 
  • provide a good barrier, absorb fluid or exudate and keep the wound dry and  
  • be adherent to the skin but atraumatic on removal and not stick to the wound. 

The dressing and wound pad size should always be chosen in relation to the wound size to ensure that the wound area is completely and safely covered by the wound pad. As alternative, a sterile compress can be used combined with unsterile fixation e.g. fixation tape, wide area fixation or cohesive bandage – depending on wound location and individual preferences.

Why is proper wound care important?

It is important to ensure proper wound care for post-operative wounds  

  • to prevent infections, 
  • to reduce scarring,  
  • to minimize pain during dressing changes and 
  • to provide easy, convenient, and safe wound treatment 
    for undisturbed healing without complications.
To do so, different aspects have to be taken into consideration1:  
Before the operation, pre-operative, the patient has to be prepared individually according to the type of surgery and risk of the patient.  
During the operation, intra-operative, compliance with all hygiene regulations during the surgery (structural requirements, clothing, processes) has to be ensured. 
After surgery, post-operative, the first wound dressing will be applied in the operation theatre and the surgeon will decide further wound treatment and dressing changes. Usually, sterile wound dressings should be used. The patient should be trained e.g. on basic hygiene rules, the dressing change should happen under antiseptic / hygienic conditions (non-touch technique, protect from water) and the wound should be observed regularly to detect complications early. 
The latter is the one the patient himself can impact.  

How to treat your wound properly?

Post-operative wound care is always related to the individual wound situation and the treatment should be performed as per doctor's recommendation. 

After the primary wound closure by the surgeon the wound is generally protected with a sterile dressing. Approximately after 2 days* the dressing is changed for the first time and the wound observed by the doctor. 
Afterwards, the dressing should be changed daily (individually after consultation with the doctor). This can be done at home by the patient. 

Always make sure to 

  • use sterile wound dressings,  
  • follow basic hygiene rules,  
  • change the dressing under antiseptic / hygienic conditions (non-touch technique, protect from water) and  
  • observed the wound regularly to detect complications early. 

In general, after 6-12 days* after surgery the sutures, staples or drains are removed by the doctor.  

*individually different, decision by the attending physician 

Sterile conditions

Usually, sterile conditions are not given at home but they are also not required for wounds without complications. Nevertheless, post-operative wounds should be treated with sterile dressings to reduce the risk of wound infections. It is important to apply the dressing in a hygienic way: Wash your hands before treatment, wear gloves and don’t touch the wound pad while opening or applying the dressing (non-touch technique).
Back to top

Treatment options for post-operative wounds at home

Post-operative wound care is always related to the individual wound situation, treatment as per doctor's recommendation.  
When treating a post-operative wound make sure to wash your hands thoroughly, put on gloves to prevent infections and use sterile dressings. 
Hansaplast offers different products to ensure proper wound treatment: 
  1. WOUND SPRAY – STEP 1 CLEANSE THE WOUND

    Hansaplast Wound Spray is an easy to use spray for the antiseptic cleansing by mechanical irrigation of minor acute wounds such as cuts, abrasions, first and minor second-degree burns and open blisters. It can also be used for chronic wounds and postoperative wound care as per your doctor’s instructions. The Hansaplast Wound Spray also helps to remove crusts or clotted dressings. 
  2. STERILE COMPRESS – STEP 2 GENTLY DRY THE WOUND

    Gently dry the wound with a sterile compress. The Hansaplast Sterile compress is 100% cotton and highly absorbent.
  3. STERILE SENSITIVE XL/XXL/3XL/4XL and AQUA PROTECT XL/XXL – STEP 3 APPLY STERILE PLASTER

    The sterile Hansaplast Plaster Sensitive XL/XXL/3XL/4XL and Aqua Protect XL/XXL protect from infection and enabling dry wound healing. 

    The extra skin friendly Sensitive XL/XXL/3XL/4XL sterile plasters protect from infection with maximum comfort.  

    With their transparent flexible film & strong adhesion, Aqua Protect XL/XXL sterile plasters protect from infection by enabling dry wound healing through waterproof protection, optimal when showering. 

Both dressings 

  • are sterile, 
  • are dermatologically approved*, 
  • have highly absorbent, non-sticky wound pads, 
  • protect from infection, 
  • can be used for cuts, abrasions & post-operative wounds 

*skin compatibility dermatologically approved 

As alternative, a sterile compress can be used combined with unsterile fixation e.g. fixation tape, wide are fixation or cohesive bandage – depending on wound location and individual preferences. 
 
The dressing should be changed regularly, as per doctor’s recommendation. This also gives you the chance to observe the wound regularly to detect complications early. 

What can be done to support healing and reduce the risk of scarring after wound closure?

After approx. 14 days* the wound is closed and further wound healing support can be considered.  
WOUND HEALING OINTMENT keeps the newly healed skin/tissue and surrounded area supple and hydrated. 
SCAR REDUCER reduces the visibility of raised & red scars with first visible results after 3-4 weeks. 

Both products can be used as soon as the wound is closed and sutures are removed. 

*individually different, decision by the attending physician 

Back to top

The Do’ s and Don’ts to heal your wound properly

DO's

Keep your wound protected with dry, sterile dressings.
Make sure your wound is fully covered in-shower by a waterproof sterile plaster.
Consult your doctor in case of impaired woundhealing or any sign of infection; Sign of infection: redness, warmth, pain, secretion and swelling.

Don'ts

Do NOT wear tight clothing around wound.
Do NOT use alcohol, chemicals, soaps, or home remedies around your wound.
Avoid smoking as it is known to impair the healing process.
Always see a doctor if the wound is deep, bleeds heavily or shows signs of infection like reddening, swelling or warmth. Please note that, although they were compiled with great care, the tips and advice given on this website by no means substitute medical advice and treatment. If you have or suspect a health problem, consult a doctor and follow medical advice, regardless of what you have learned on this website. Always read carefully and follow the instructions for use or the leaflets of our products.
For further information, please contact us via email at Hansaplast@Beiersdorf.com