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Surgical Wound Healing Stages

What can I expect as I recover from surgery at home?

Healing is a process that involves both your mind and your body. There are three major stages you will experience after surgery. To get well and stay well through each stage, follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and be sure to:

Eat right.

This plays an important role in how quickly your body heals after an injury or surgery. Eat healthy foods regularly, at least three times a day.

Get enough rest and sleep.

This a major part of getting healthy again.3

Avoid stress.

Stress can make it take longer for your body to heal.4

The following is an overview of what you and your caregiver can do to ensure a smooth recovery during the first stage of healing.

Keys for healing stage 1: Welcome home

If pain medicine is needed, take it as directed.

Treat your wound according to the home care guide provided when you left the hospital.

Use sterile gauze to soak up any moisture from your wound.

Cover your wound with the proper bandage to keep the wound clean and dry.5

How can I protect my wound as I begin to recover?

During the second stage of healing, when their wound is starting to get better, some patients may relax their wound care routine. In fact, about 30% of patients get post-surgical complications and end up back in the hospital.

Keys for healing stage 2: Continuing care

You can keep your wound healthy by remembering the 3 Ps:

Protect from germs.

Keep your wound clean by using disposable gloves and bandages.

Prevent infection.

Apply antibiotic ointment, like NEOSPORIN® Original Ointment to the wound to prevent infection, if directed by your healthcare provider.

Protect from further injury.

Cover your wound with bandages that allow it to breathe to protect from re-injury until the wound is completely healed.6

How can I protect my wound as I become more active?

Take care of your wound while you get back to your everyday routine. To help prevent injury and infection, keep your wound clean, covered and protected while you get back to doing the things you love.

Keys for recovery stage 3: Moving again

  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
  • Keep your wound from rubbing against your clothes by keeping the affected area covered with a bandage.
  • Choose the proper size bandage to protect your wound and keep it clean.
  • Daily showers can help with this. If you don’t shower daily, you will need to make sure you clean the wound every time you apply a new bandage.
  • Exercise as appropriate.
  • Ask what level of exercise, if any, is allowed during recovery.5,8 Create a daily routine that helps you reduce stress.9


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