After Care Instructions

Wounds should be kept clean and dry for 24 h after suturing. Thereafter, they may be cleaned with running water and covered with a clean, dry dressing. Discharged patients should return for suture or staple removal in 7 to 10 days for upper extremity lacerations, 10 to 14 days for lower extremity lacerations, and 14 days for lacerations over joints. This time can be extended a few days in patients over age 65 years because epithelialization and noncollagenous protein accumulation are delayed.8 Routine antibiotic prophylaxis is not recommended.19 Prophylactic antibiotics are recommended for joint penetration, bite wounds, and in delayed primary closure. For markedly contaminated wounds, which required extensive debridement and irrigation, it is appropriate to reexamine the patient in 48 h for signs of infection and then begin antibiotics if necessary. Patients should be instructed to return for severe pain, erythema, purulent discharge, fever greater than 38.6°C (101.5°F), ascending lymphangitis, paresthesias, or weakness. Acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories are usually sufficient for pain control. Elevation of the injured extremity will decrease tissue edema and expedite healing.

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