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Skin and Cancer Foundation Australia

Skin Graft Wound Care

Hand Washing

Please wash your hands thoroughly prior to wound care. Clean the webs of the fingers and underneath your fingernails as well as the remainder of your hands. Ensure hands are dried well after cleansing. It is not necessary to use antimicrobial soap.
 
Ensure hands are washed thoroughly

The Graft Site

  • Clean the wound morning and night.
  • Make a sterile salt solution, by adding one teaspoon of table salt to 1 cup of cooled boiled water.
  • Dip cotton buds into the salt solution and use to bathe around the edge of the cotton ball dressing (where it meats the skin) to remove any old blood or antibiotic ointment. Do not allow a crust of dried blood to form around the ball.
  • To help prevent infection, after cleansing apply a thin smear of the antibiotic eye ointment around the edge of the ball where it meets the skin.
  • Leave the wound uncovered when possible; if a dressing is required follow the instructions given to you by the nursing staff.
NB: Do not get the cotton ball dressing wet in the shower as it cannot be changed for one week.
 

The Donor Site

If the skin has been taken from any site where it has been stitched afterwards, bathe the area morning and night as above and apply the antibiotic eye ointment.

If the skin has been taken from the thigh area, please leave the dressing in place until attended to by the nursing staff.

Medications 

  • If you have been placed on an antibiotic, take as directed by your doctor.
  • If you were advised to stop taking any medications or vitamin therapy prior to surgery, you may recommence these 48 hours after the operation.
  • For pain relief, Panadol (Panamax / Paracetamol)or if necessary Panadeine, should provide adequate relief. If taking Panadeine, have something light to eat or a glass of milk before consumption to prevent nausea. Do not use any Asprin or Disprin based medications (including Ibuprofen or Nurofen) for pain relief for the first 48 hours after surgery, as these will thin your blood and make your wound bleed more easily.

Queries

If you have any concerns, please ring the Skin & Cancer Foundation Australia on Monday through to Friday between the hours of 8am and 5pm on (02) 88 33 3000. If it is the weekend, or you cannot return to the clinic and you think there is a problem with your wound, such as an infection, please do the following:

  • Go to your GP.
  • If started on antibiotics, ask to have a wound swab with a copy of the results sent to the Skin & Cancer Foundation Australia.
  • Please ring and inform us of your visit to your GP so we can document this in your file.
  • Signs of infection are redness, tenderness, hot to the touch and pus.