Suture line care

  • As part of the surgical procedure, your child's suture line will have been closed with either dissolving sutures or sutures that require removal, or a combination of both.  It is important that the suture line is adequately protected for the appropriate length of time.

    Dressings

    At the end of surgery, a dressing will have been applied.  Usually this consists of:

    1. A steristrip which has been placed over the sutures
    2. A pad of gauze placed over steristrips
    3. A strip of micropore, elastoplast or crepe banadage to hold the gauze.

    The outer layer of tape and gauze is used to absorb any oozing or bleeding that may occur within the first few hours of surgery.

    Bathing

    The suture line should remain dry until the gauze is removed.  The steristrips may get wet but this should be kept to a minimum, and should be patted dry or dried with a hair dryer as soon as possible.  It is unlikely that the water will dislodge the steristrips.  It is important that the gauze is removed before the area does become wet as moist gauze left in place over a wound can lead to infection.

    Tape removal

    In the case of sutures that require removal, the suture line should be covered until the sutures are removed. If dissolving sutures have been used, the steristrips should remain in place for a period of 6 days.  The steristrips may then be removed and the suture line left exposed. If the steristrips become dislodged they can be replaced with a strip of micropore. 

    Suture removal

    After the sutures have been removed and the wound is clean and dry your child can wash as normal.  It is advisable to keep the suture line moisturised and to gently massage the area 4-5 times a day.   Any moisturising cream will be adequate, eg: Sorbolene.  Initially the suture line will be pink or red, this will fade over the next three months and eventually should be a fine pale line.

    Seek medical attention in the event of:

    • Increasing pain or pain not relieved by medication
    • Persistent fever
    • General unwellness
    • Wound discharge or increasing redness

    Follow up

    Your first review appointment will be approximately one week after discharge for dressing/wound check.  Your follow up appointments will be at one of the following:

    • Plastic Surgery Outpatients (Registrar Clinic), Blue Desk, Ground Floor Royal Children's Hospital (morning appointment)
    • Consultant Clinic 
    • Consultant Private Rooms 
    • Local doctor

    If you are unable to keep your appointment please call to reschedule.

    If you have any concerns contact:

    Plastic & Maxillofacial Surgery Office - 9345 5391
    Outpatient appointments - 9345 6180
    Plastic Surgery Resident or Registrar - via switchboard on 9345 5522