Going Home With An Open Surgical Wound: What You Need To Know


After surgery, sometimes it's necessary to leave a surgical wound open for proper healing. This can be frightening for many people. The open wound may be small or fairly large, depending on the type of surgery you've had. There are a few things you should know about wound care at home, as well as nutrition, to promote healing. 

Tissue Growth

If you can get past feeling frightened of your open wound, it's actually very fascinating to watch your body work it's magic. As time passes, your wound will begin to fill in with new tissue. You'll notice your scar looks less deep than it did before. As more time passes and your wound is almost filled in, skin will grow over the wound and form a scar. You may have a permanent indention type scar rather than a flat scar. Some areas of the scar may look wider than others. 

Home Health Care

In many cases, patients with open wounds are prescribed home health care services by their attending physician. Your home health care nurse or aide, from a company like Assisting Hands Naples, will pack your wound with gauze that is wet with saline. It's important to watch how your nurse does this. Many open wounds must be changed more than once per day, and need to be kept wet with saline at all times.

You may notice your wound has a red or dark pink, beefy look. This is a good sign of healing. You may also notice a bit of yellow or greenish material on the gauze. Just a little bit is fairly normal, but always show this to your home health nurse to make sure you aren't suffering from an infection. If you would rather change your dressing yourself, let your home health nurse or aide know, so that you can be taught the proper sanitary techniques.

Sanitary Procedures

If you change your own dressing, you must take every precaution to prevent infection. Follow these simple, yet very important steps. and any steps your healthcare team suggests.

  • Always wash your hands with hot water and antibacterial soap.
  • You'll need to wear medical gloves as well. 
  • Open a package of gauze and spread the gauze on a clean surface.
  • Place the opened gauze you will pack your wound with on the spread out gauze.
  • Open a long handled Q-tip.
  • Have saline and a waste receptacle nearby. 

Wet the gauze in your open wound with saline. This helps prevent sticking and makes it easier to remove. Gently remove the gauze in the wound with your gloved fingertips. Throw it away without touching the receptacle. Gently place fresh gauze that has been thoroughly drenched in saline in your wound. Use the Q-tip to gently pack it down. You want the entire wound to be filled with wet gauze. The edges of your wound should also be covered with wet gauze. Apply a dry piece of gauze over the wet gauze and tape it in place, or ask your home care provider for cotton mesh. This is a comfortable way to hold gauze in place and avoid tape. 

Nutrition Importance

Open wounds heal at different rates, dependent on the depth of the wound, your current health, and nutrition choices. Protein is absolutely one of the best ways to promote wound healing. The best source of protein comes from animals, because it contains all of the essential fatty acids your body needs. Plants also provide protein, but do not contain all essential fatty acids. After surgery, many patients have a difficult time eating. An easy way to add protein to your diet is with a protein powder. They come in various flavors and can be mixed into milk, made into milkshakes, or blended into other foods. 

It is recommended to get plenty of vitamin A and C, as well as zinc. If you find you aren't eating well or feel full easily, eat small meals or snacks throughout the day to improve your caloric intake.


9 January 2015

Finding the Right Healthcare: Putting Families First

A few years ago, I experienced a huge health scare with my blood pressure. My doctor at the time didn't offer evening or late night care, which forced me to visit the local emergency room for help. Although it may seem like a small thing to some people, not having access to my doctor when I needed it really bothered me. It bothered me so much that I searched for a new doctor after my child was born. Now, I'm happy with my family's new physician. The doctor offers after-hour care, which is a wonderful thing for us. My blog offers tips on how to find the right doctor for your family, as well as many other services you might need one day. So, please read through the blog for the information you need now.