Wound Care FAQ’s

Can I take a bath or shower?

If possible, try to avoid a bath or shower for at least 12 to 24 hours. However, there is no problem taking a bath or shower as long as the wound only briefly comes in contact with water. Keep the wound covered when possible while bathing and clean it afterwards as directed above. Wounds in areas that can’t be easily covered (e.g. hairy scalp) may get briefly wet while you bathe/shampoo but be gentle and don’t scrub over the wound. Also, don’t let the shower beat down on the wound for more than a few seconds at a time.

What about swimming and hot tub use after surgery?

Avoid immersing the wound in water for at least one to two weeks after the biopsy. You should stay out of hot tubs and swimming pools until the wound is completely healed. Soaking the wound in water may slow the healing process and increase the risk of getting an infection.

How long do I have to keep the wound covered?

Keep the wound covered with Aquaphor or Vaseline and a bandage until you return to the clinic for suture removal, but at least for one week. If the wound is in a location where it gets rubbed by clothing or is likely to get dirty, you may want to keep it covered longer, or at least until the stitches are removed. Covered wounds heal faster than uncovered wounds.

What else should I watch for?

Beware of Infection!

Small percentage of wounds will become infected after surgery. If the skin around the wound becomes red, swollen, and painful, or pus starts to drain from the area, you may have an infected wound. If these signs and symptoms develop, call the office immediately so that you can be evaluated and, if necessary, started on an antibiotic without delay. It is normal for the wound to drain small amounts of clear or red fluid. However, if the wound drains white or yellow fluid (pus), call us immediately. Failure to call about an infected wound can have serious consequences.

What about the stitches?

Removing stitches causes little discomfort and is usually done 7-14 days after surgery, depending on the location and type of surgery that was performed. You should have been given a time when to return to have stitches removed.

What about exercise and activities?

Certain activities may need to be curtailed during the healing process. This depends on the activity and type of wound. Before engaging in exercise and athletic activities, you should inquire about the limitations from your wound.