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Incision Care, Home Care Instructions

(757) 668-7000

A surgical incision or wound is the area of skin that the doctor cuts during surgery. Sometimes there are stitches that will need to be taken out in a few days. At other times, all the stitches are under the skin and will dissolve in 3-5 days. Some types of stitches may take longer to dissolve.


Steri-strips hold the outer layer of skin together while the wound heals. All of the stitches are inside and will dissolve by themselves. For the first 2 days after surgery, give your child a sponge bath only. Keep the steri-strips clean and dry. After this, you may tub bathe/shower your child. Steri-strips will fall off on their own in 5-7 days. It is okay to get these wet, but pat dry. Do not submerge the incision in bathtubs, pools or the ocean for 2 weeks.

Biocclusive or opsite dressings are clear plastic dressings that stick to the skin. They hold the outer layer of the skin together while the wound heals. They also keep bacteria away from the incision. The biocclusive or opsite dressing needs to be kept dry. Remove this dressing on the second day after surgery. 

Gauze dressings cover the incision to protect it from bacteria and absorb drainage. If drainage comes through, you should add more gauze and tape it securely.

What to expect after surgery:

  • Your child's wound may be puffy and/or bruised.
  • Your child's temperature may be increased.
  • There may be a small amount of bloody drainage.

Special Instructions:

  • Your child should not take gym class, play sports, or return to school until allowed by your child's doctor.

Call your child's doctor if:

  • Your child's wound looks red or has yellow drainage, or the drainage has a foul odor.
  • There is a lot of swelling, the wound is hot to touch, or there is a lump that you can feel.
  • Your child begins having a croupy (barky) cough/cry or wheezing.
  • Your child's temperature is greater than 101.5oF rectally or by mouth. Slight fevers after surgery are normal. You should take your child's temperature at least once before bedtime tonight.
  • Your child has vomiting that lasts more than 6 hours or if the vomiting is severe. Your child's nurse will discuss this with you before your child goes home.
  • There are signs of dehydration. Your child can become dehydrated when he/she has prolonged or severe vomiting and is not able to drink enough fluid to keep up with the loss.

Signs of Dehydration:

  • Dry mouth.
  • Sunken look around eyes.
  • No tears when crying.
  • Decreased amount of urine, difficulty urinating or fewer wet diapers than usual in an infant/toddler.


Please call if you have any questions. Use the phone number your child's nurse gives you.

Disclaimer:This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 01/2018

(757) 668-7000