Within 8 to 24 h after closure, wounds in highly vascular areas (scalp, face, and neck) can be washed without any impairment to healing or an increase in infection; shampooing of the scalp or washing of the face and neck is allowable the day after suture repair. Likewise, wounds in other areas can be washed after 12 to 24 h without increased risk of an adverse outcome. However, immersion or soaking should be avoided, as this tends to track moisture down the percutaneous sutures and macerate the wound; showering is allowable, but bathing is to be discouraged. Following cleaning, the wound should be dried with a clean towel and redressed as directed. While shaving is rarely a danger, patients may have to be told not to shave around or over a wound.
Stapled wounds can be washed and groomed in the same way as sutured wounds. However, wounds that have been closed by adhesive tape should not be moistened or washed. Wounds closed with tissue adhesive may be very gently cleaned after 24 h, but immersion should be prohibited.
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