An surgical wounds is a cut through the skin that is made during surgery and one of the closure methods is the surgical stitch. Sometimes an surgical stitch breaks open, it may be broken along the entire cut ( the surgical wound) or just part of it. This article will discuss what we can do if the surgical stitches come undone.
Luckily, it is not always an emergency, but still you should not ignore it for it can become a serious issue.
First, you have to cover it with a clean bandage and seek for the professional help. Even if it is a minor opening or just a small gap or it is not bleeding and the wound does not become larger or deeper, it can be an entry port for the foreign material like bacteria to enter inside the surgical wound. Do not use your personal judgement, your surgeon should be the judge of whether you need a medical help or not.
If it is has completely opened or you can see the tissues are bulging out of the wound, you also can cover it with a clean bandage while you or someone else is seeking for the medical help because you may need the wound get repaired by redoing the surgical stitches.
If your doctor does not close the surgical wound again by redoing the surgical stitches especially if it is a small opening and not bleeding and the wound does not become larger or deeper, you should take care of it at home.
A dressing may help you to absorb drainage and keep the surgical wound closing before the wound underneath is healed. The followings are the things you can do while caring the undone surgical stitches by using the dressing :
Remember that after the surgical stitch is undone, you have to be more aware about your hygiene It is important to clean your hands before you do anything, especially that is related with the caring of the opened (undone ) surgical stitch. You can use alcohol-based cleanser or follow this steps :
1. Take all of jewelry off your hands;
2. Wet your hands under warm running water;
3. Add soap and wash your hands (includes the nails) for 15 to 30 seconds;
4. Rinse it well;
5. Dry it with a clean towel.
Removing the Old Dressing
1. Carefully loosen the tape from the skin;
2. Use a clean medical glove to grab and pull it off;
3. If the dressing sticks on the wound, wet it (unless it has to be pulled off dry ) and try again ;
4. Clean your hands again.
Caring for the wound
Use a gauze pad or soft cloth to clean the skin around the surgical stitches and follow this steps :
- Use a normal salt water or mild soapy water;
- Soak the gauze or cloth in that water and gently wipe your skin with it;
- Remove all drainage or other matter that may build on the skin around the surgical wound;
- Do not use any skin cleansers, alcohol, peroxide, iodine or soap with antibacterial chemicals since it can damage the wound tissue and make it get slow healing.
If your surgeon ask you to irrigate or wash out your wound, these steps may help :
- Fill a syringe with salt water or soapy water;
- Spray that water enough to the wound to wash away drainage and discharge;
- Clean and dry the undone surgical stitches with a soft cloth carefully.
Please do not apply any lotion, cream or herbal remedies on or around the undone surgical stitches unless your doctor said it is okay to be applied.
Putting on the New Dressing
Finally, you can put the new dressing by following these steps :
- Again, make sure you have clean your hands.
- Place the new dressing on the surgical stitch carefully.
- Wash any soiled laundry from your dressing change separately from the other laundry.
It is important to be noted that a dressing is only can be used once. Do not reuse it.
Those are the things you can do to take care of an undone surgical stitches at home, but it never can be the replacement of the medical help if :
- There is more redness, pain, swelling or bleeding.
- The wound or the gap on the undone surgical stitch becomes larger or deeper.
- The drainage increases or the becomes thick, green or yellow and smells bad.