Home Up

click here to email Dr. Keller

The first step in reconstruction if there is an open wound is wound care.  

Open Wound Care 

Caring for an open wound at home can be simple if you prepare your supplies ahead of time and if you know what to expect.

 Before removing your old dressings, lay the necessary supplies on a counter top or your bed.  This may include bacitracin, gauze sponges, gauze wrap, tape and saline as directed by the doctor.  Once you have everything prepared remove and discard the old dressing.  Clean the wound as directed by the doctor.  Soap and water in the sink, or shower, may be all that is necessary, though sometimes saline is used.  It is common to have a small amount of oozing or bleeding after cleaning the wound or removing a dry dressing.  A small rim of redness and inflammation is often present around the edges of an open wound, particularly when the wound has been open for a long time and for wounds located on the legs and feet.  This is not infection.


If the wound is small and clean, bacitracin and a bandaid may suffice. If the wound is large or needs tidying then a "wet-to-dry" dressing may be prescribed.  Moisten a gauze sponge with saline and wring out the excess.  Apply the moistened gauze to the wound and cover with a dry gauze sponge. Tape will hold the dressing in place, however a gauze wrap is easier around the arm or leg.  When it is time to remove the dressing it will be dry and stuck to the wound.  Do not wet the dressing as its cleaning action occurs by peeling it off the wound.  If the gauze is particularly stuck or painful to remove, it may be wet or allowed to fall off in the shower.


Call the doctor for:

     a new fever higher than 101

     bleeding that does not stop after5                            minutes of compression

      redness around the wound that is                            getting larger or more painful

      pus or foul-smelling drainage.

Copyright 2002-2004  Alex Keller, MD, FACS. pc.  All rights reserved.