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Suture Line Care

Suture (incision) line care is a clean procedure. Supplies do not need to be sterile, but you must wash your hands thoroughly before performing the procedure.

Suture line care should be done twice a day unless instructed otherwise.

  • In a basin or cup, mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 2 parts saline solution or distilled water (For example, mix 1/8 cup of hydrogen peroxide with 1/4 cup of saline solution or distilled water.)
  • Moisten the cotton-tipped applicators with the diluted hydrogen peroxide mixture.
  • Using the moistened cotton-tipped applicator:
    • Gently wipe over the suture line and once down each side.
    • Wipe once down the middle of the incision, gently removing drainage and crusting.
    • If crusting is difficult to remove, do not remove it.

After cleaning the suture line, swab a thin amount of antibiotic ointment on a cotton-tipped applicator. Gently and evenly spread the ointment on the suture line.

Signs of infection at the suture line

The following are signs indicating that there may be an infection at or around the suture line. Notify your physician if you experience any of the following:

  • An increase in redness, tenderness, or swelling of the suture line.
  • Drainage from the suture line. (Occasionally, a small amount of bloody or clear yellow-tinged fluid may drain. Notify your physician if it persists or if it changes in consistency.)
  • A marked or sudden increase in pain not relieved by the pain medication.
  • White pimples or blisters at or around the incision line.

General signs and symptoms of infection

  • A persistent elevation of body temperature greater than 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit. (You should take your temperature daily, at the same time each day.)
  • Sweats or chills.
  • Skin rash.
  • Persistent sore throat, scratchy throat or pain when swallowing.
  • Persistent sinus drainage, nasal congestion, headaches, or tenderness along the upper cheekbones.
  • Persistent dry or moist cough that lasts more than two days.
  • White patches in your mouth or on your tongue.
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Trouble urinating: pain or burning, constant urge or frequent urination.
  • Bloody, cloudy or foul-smelling urine.
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Dr. Boris Volshteyn is a plastic surgeon dedicated to excellence in plastic & reconstructive surgery such as breast augmentation, liposuction, and facelifts. Boris Volshteyn MD plastic surgery offices are located in New York and New Jersey. This website is a plastic surgery resource for viewing before and after photos, and learning about various procedures.

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