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A cut through the skin which is made during surgery is called an incision. Another name for incision is surgical wound. The type of surgery is the most important factor that determines the size, location, and the number of incisions. Sometimes, the incision may break open along a part or its entire length. These opened incisions are closed using sutures (stitches) or a special adhesive tape called Steri-Strips.
Cleaning an Incision
Proper care of incision helps to heal, reduce scarring and reduces the risk of infection. Incisions must be kept clean and dry regularly. The following are the tips for incision care:
Signs of Infection at Incisional Site
The various signs that indicate infection at the incision site are as follows:
Risk Factors for Developing an Infection at the incisional site:
The following conditions may increase the likelihood of anindividual to develop infection at the incisional site:
Dressing of Incision and Its Supplies
Dressing is a sterile covering of a wound or incision which protects it from infectious organisms and keeps it clean and dry. Dressings should ideally be changed regularly or as directed by a physician. The basic supplies required for changing the dressings are:
Steps involved in Changing Dressings The first step in dressing is to prepare the area where the dressing has to be applied or changed. The steps involve removing the old dressing, cleansing and the incision and applying the new dressing.
Healing of Incision
Good incision care helps to ensure that it heals well and doesn’t develop an infection. In most cases, the surgical incision heals in about two weeks. In complex cases, surgical incisions may take a longer time to heal. In patients with underlying medical conditions or who are taking any medications that hinder the healing process, the incision may take extra time to heal.
Staying active improves blood flow and aids healing. However, in certain surgeries, a physician may recommend avoiding exercise, pulling, lifting, or sports for about one month after the surgery. These will help prevent opening of the incision line and promote healing.
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