What’s the best way of looking after my sutured wounds?

Your wound has been covered with a simple pressure dressing. Please keep this in place for 24 to 48 hours as it reduces the risk of bleeding. 

It is important to keep the wound dry for 48 hours to reduce the risk of infection. We advice against swimming or soaking the wound (e.g. in a bath) until the stitches are removed. 

We recommend that you take a shower and remove your dressing once wet (this avoids any potential damage to the skin). Pat the wound dry with a clean towel. Apply an ointment like Savlon or Vaseline once to twice daily. 

It is not necessary to apply a dressing afterwards, but if the stitches rub or catch on clothing, then cover the wound with a dressing. Do not leave a wet dressing in place as it increases the risk of infection. 


The operation site will be checked for bleeding before you leave the department but rarely, bleeding may occur at home. 

If there is any bleeding, do not disturb the dressing just apply continuous pressure for at least 20 minutes with a clean towel. 

If possible, elevate or raise the area, e.g. arm or leg. 

Should you experience problems outside clinic opening times you will need to visit your local Emergency Department or Walk in Centre for assessment. 


In the first 24 to 48 hours, it is normal to sometimes see redness and have slight swelling at the site as this is part of the healing process. 

However, if you experience any of the following even 72 hours after the procedure, please arrange to see your GP or a nurse in a dressing clinic: 

  • Increasing pain at the site 
  • Increasing swelling 
  • Increasing redness 
  • A pus like discharge 


The local anesthetic will wear off after 1 to 2 hours. You may need to take pain relief e.g. Paracetamol (as long as you do not take any other medicines containing Paracetamol) to a maximum of 8 of 500mg tablets in 24 hours. Please avoid drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and diclofenac (non-steroidal tablets) as these tablets increase bleeding and bruising. 


You should try to minimize activity for the rest of the day. Sport/excessive exercise is best avoided until 2-3 weeks after stitches are removed, especially in sites of movement e.g. back, legs and shoulders. This is to avoid a stretched scar or the wound opening, which may leave a lumpy scar.  


Please arrange removal of your stitches with the clinic. 

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