Cuts Closed With Staples: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

A cut can happen anywhere on your body.

The doctor used staples to close the cut. Staples easily and quickly close a cut, which helps the cut heal.

Sometimes a cut can injure tendons, blood vessels, or nerves. If the cut went deep and through the skin, the doctor may have put in a layer of stitches below the staples. The deeper layer of stitches brings the deep part of the cut together. These stitches will dissolve and don't need to be removed. The staples in the upper layer are what you see on the cut.

You may have a bandage. You will need to have the staples removed, usually in 7 to 14 days.

The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Keep the cut dry for the first 24 to 48 hours. After this, you can shower if your doctor okays it. Pat the cut dry.
  • Don't soak the cut, such as in a bathtub. Your doctor will tell you when it's safe to get the cut wet.
  • If your doctor told you how to care for your cut, follow your doctor's instructions. If you did not get instructions, follow this general advice:
    • After the first 24 to 48 hours, wash around the cut with clean water 2 times a day. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing.
    • You may cover the cut with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a non-stick bandage.
    • Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed.
  • Avoid any activity that could cause your cut to reopen.
  • Do not remove the staples on your own. Your doctor will tell you when to come back to have the staples removed.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new pain, or your pain gets worse.
  • The skin near the cut is cold or pale or changes colour.
  • You have tingling, weakness, or numbness near the cut.
  • The cut starts to bleed, and blood soaks through the bandage. Oozing small amounts of blood is normal.
  • You have trouble moving the area near the cut.
  • You have symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness around the cut.
    • Red streaks leading from the cut.
    • Pus draining from the cut.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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