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How to care for your post-operative hip or knee wound following a total hip replacement or total knee replacement

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Dressing change

Your dressing can remain in place for up to 7 days from placement in theatres. If the dressing has moved out of place or becomes fully saturated, it will need changing. The pictures below will give you some indication as to when a dressing change will be necessary.

When to change/not change your dressing

You do not need to change your dressing if it looks like this:

Image of knee dressing with some blood

Your dressing will need to be changed if it looks like this:

Image of knee dressing soaked with blood

Nursing staff will change your dressing before you go home if necessary.

If you have been discharged and your dressing looks like photo 4, is leaking or you are concerned, please change your dressing and contact the ward you were discharged from. Blisters are not uncommon. If you develop blisters after discharge, contact the ward for advice.

    How to change your dressing

    Image of dressing change

    Image of dressing change

    Image of dressing change

    Image of dressing change

    Patient guide to wound care and FAQ

    What kind of dressing is on my wound?

    After surgery the majority of patients have a Mepilex Border dressing which can remain in place for 7 days.

    This dressing may have been changed on the ward and you may have a transparent adhesive dressing.

    What should I expect from the dressing?

    It is normal for your wound to release blood and fluid when it’s been closed surgically.

    Can I shower with the dressing?

    Yes. It is shower proof but it’s recommended to keep it as dry as possible. The dressing will only stick to dry skin. If the skin becomes too moist the dressing will simply fall off.

    When showering, place your back to the shower to avoid the shower directly going onto your dressing.

    When I should contact the ward?

    • If the dressing is leaking or saturated or looks like picture 4.
    • If the surrounding skin has become red and spreading outwards.
    • If there is in an increase in pain or odour.
    • The dressing has moved and the wound is now visible.
    • Increased discharge and foul smelling discharge.
    • If blisters develop around your surgery site.

    Telephone: 01444 441881

    Ask the switchboard to transfer you to the ward you were discharged from  Newick, Albourne or Twineham.

    When should my dressing be changed?

    Please follow the advice on the nursing discharge letter.

    You will be given a surgical dressing to take home. Please follow photographic instructions on how to change the dressing.

    For maximum effectiveness of the dressing it must remain in place. Please do NOT remove the dressing earlier than the scheduled date.

      This information is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.

      The information here is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.

      Publication Date: November 2019

      Review Date: February 2023

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