Hey there, I hope you’re doing good. Do you know why ‘care of surgical wound’ is necessary? In this blog, you’ll read about the meaning as well as the care of surgical wounds. Likewise, you’ll also read about the purposes and important articles for caring the surgical wounds. So, keep reading till the end of the blog.

Let’s get started….


A surgical wound, also known as an incision, is a wound that has been deliberately produced during a surgical procedure by a cutting instrument such as a scalpel in a sterile environment. Surgical wound care is a nursing intervention that is primarily focused on the prevention of wound complications and the promotion of surgical wound healing.

Moreover, Surgical wounds can be classified into one of four categories, according to guidelines set by the American College of Surgeons.

Class I: Generally, these are clean wounds. Hence, they show no signs of infection or inflammation. For example, exploratory laparotomy, mastectomy, neck dissection, and splenectomy.

Class II: These are clean-contaminated wounds. Although the wound may not show signs of infection, there is an increased risk of becoming infected primarily due to its location. For example, cholecystectomy, small bowel resection, Whipple, liver transplantation, and gastric surgery.

Class III: Basically, a surgical wound is that where an outside object has come in contact with the skin is having a high risk of infection and is considered a contaminated wound. For example, rectal surgery, and penetrating wounds.

Class IV: These are dirty-contaminated wounds and include wounds that have been exposed to fecal material, e.g. perforated bowel, and peritonitis.


  • To remove visible debris and devitalized tissue.
  • To apply compression for hemorrhage or venous stasis.
  • To protect the wound and surrounding tissue.
  • To remove excessive or drying exudates.
  • To promote wound healing.
  • To allow inspection and assessment of the contaminated wound.


  • Sterile artery forceps- 1
  • Mackintosh with draw-sheet
  • Sterile thumb forceps- 1
  • A pair of sterile gloves
  • A pair of clean gloves
  • Sterile dressing pack (1-2)
  • Kidney tray
  • Sterile saline
  • Antiseptic lotion (if indicated)
  • Adhesive tape
  • Appropriate receptacle to collect waste
  • Sterile bowl
  • Sterile scissors
  • Face mask
  • Topical medication (optional)
  • Screen
  • Hand rub

step by step care of surgical wound


Preprocedural Steps

  • Firstly, identify the patient.
  • Secondly, explain the purpose of the procedure to the patient and family/caregivers and reassure them. It will lessen their anxiety and promote patients’ cooperation.
  • Thirdly, gather all the articles on a sterile trolley and keep it accessible near the bedside. An organized approach will save time and energy.
  • Wash hands thoroughly and wears a mask and gown (optional) to prevent infection.
  • Check the physician’s order for wound dressing and any specific instructions to clarify the type of dressing to be performed.
  • Screen the patient’s bed to provide privacy to the patient.
  • Assist the patient to a comfortable position that provides easy access to the wound area. It will provide comfort to the patient as well as ease in performing wound dressing.
  • Adjust the patient’s clothes according to the site of the wound while covering the rest of the body. It will permit easy access to the wound and will also maintain warmth and dignity.

Keep reading the steps for caring the surgical wounds

  • Place mackintosh and drawsheet on the bed beneath the area of dressing to prevent soiling of the linen.
  • After that, don’t clean his gloves. Furthermore, remove the soiled dressings carefully‚ pulling tape toward the suture line to prevent overstretching of the wound.
  • However, if the dressing is adherent to the skin, moisten it by pouring a small amount of normal saline. The moistened dressing is easier to remove.
  • Meanwhile, inspect dressing for amount, the color of the discharge, or the presence of any foul odor. It will help to assess the wound healing process.
  • Assess the condition of the surgical wound for redness and discharge to look for the signs of infection.
  • Discard soiled dressing and gloves directly into the appropriate receptacles to prevent the spread of microorganisms.
  • Lastly, Assess the incision for signs of healing. Describe the appearance of the patient


  • Always clean from least contaminated to most contaminated.
  • Record date as well as the time of dressing done.
  • Always use an aseptic approach while providing surgical wound care to minimize the risk of infection.
  • Above all, Care should be performed in a way that minimizes trauma to the wound.
  • Particularly, Antiseptics are not routinely recommended for cleansing and should only be used sparingly for infected wounds.

Thank you
for reading our blog. Kindly, share it with the ‘nursing students’.

Blog by: Ms. Rumana Ali

Department of Nursing

Biyani Group of Colleges

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