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Wound Care

Protect post-surgery wounds and promote healing

After any surgery, wound care is an essential part of your recovery. When your skin is cut or wounded, germs can enter and cause infection. An infected wound can require antibiotics, lengthen your hospital stay, and, if serious, may require additional surgery. Your ThedaCare team will show you how to prevent infection and provide personalized post-surgery instructions to help protect your wounds and promote healing.

Our Approach To Faster Healing

ThedaCare recognizes the importance of specialized and accessible wound care, and prioritizes wound care certification among our team members. This allows us to staff Outpatient Treatment Centers throughout our service area—including our rural communities—with team members who are adequately trained to provide holistic treatment recommendations. By considering the nutrition, disease processes and environmental factors facing each unique patient, our staff can better identify the appropriate course of action and help wounds heal faster.

When to Seek Care

Watch for changes to and around your wound, and report any of the following symptoms to your surgeon:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Strong, offensive odor
  • Increasing redness
  • Tenderness or pain
  • Opening of the incision
  • Foul, excessive draining
  • High temperature
  • Chills
  • Increasing fatigue


In addition to the personalized care instructions provided to you after your surgery, the following lifestyle changes can significantly improve healing:

  • Healthy eating
  • Exercise (as appropriate)
  • Stress management
  • Quitting smoking
  • Diligently managing other existing health conditions

General Wound Care

Cleanliness, good air circulation and nutrition are all vital to healing your post-surgery wound. Once you return home:       

  • Designate a clean work area to set up your wound care supplies
  • Keep your wound clean and dry, and follow provider instructions for showering
  • Protect the wound by keeping it covered as directed
  • Follow critical hygiene and dressing removal/disposal recommendations
  • Keep up with prescribed medications and follow-up appointments
  • Avoid heavy lifting, but stay active as permitted by your doctor to keep blood flowing

Urology and Ostomy Care

If you’ve had ostomy surgery to treat digestive or urinary conditions, an opening (stoma) will be created to allow urine or waste to leave your body in place of organs that were injured or removed. Care should be taken to keep the stoma clean and prevent infection:

  • Ostomy
  • Colostomy
  • Urostomy

Additional care instructions specific to your procedure, including changing and emptying an ostomy pouch, will be provided to you following surgery.

Following a urology procedure, you may go home with a urinary catheter. If you’ve had prostate surgery or trouble emptying your bladder, you’ll need to use the catheter longer. Your nurse will provide you with instructions for catheter care or other needs.

Dressing Disposal

  • Discard used dressings immediately to avoid infecting the wound or spreading germs to others.
  • Put used dressings and supplies in a plastic bag and seal it tightly.
  • Put the plastic bag in a closed trash container, not an open wastebasket.

Tips for Healing

  • Upon your doctor’s approval, stay active to keep blood flowing to the wound
  • Drink six to eight glasses of water daily, unless otherwise instructed
  • Keep all follow-up appointments
  • Eat protein and take vitamin C to help rebuild tissue, unless otherwise instructed

General Tips

  • Don’t get your incision wet unless directed.  If your care provider says it’s okay to shower, follow your providers instructions
  • Avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity until otherwise instructed
  • When traveling, don’t put your wound supplies in your checked luggage as it can get lost or delayed.  Carry extra bandages, gauze, tape, towelettes and baggies.

Access to Care

If you’ve recently undergone a surgical procedure and have follow-up questions regarding appropriate wound care, please contact your primary care provider or the provider who administered your surgery.