What is bleeding after surgery?

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Opened cut after surgery: Overview

Sometimes a cut made during surgery opens when it isn't supposed to. This may be because of an infection or another problem that keeps the cut's edges from staying together.

The doctor has checked your open cut. Your doctor may have put a dressing in the cut but left it open to heal. This lets the cut heal from the bottom up. Your doctor may have given you a vacuum device to take home that helps close the cut.

A cut may be left open when it is infected or likely to become infected. This is because closing the cut may make an existing infection worse and a new infection more likely.

You will have a bandage.

How can you care for bleeding after surgery?

  • If you have strips of tape on the incision, leave the tape on until it falls off. Or follow your doctor's instructions for removing the tape. Keep the area dry at all times.
  • You will have a dressing over the incision. A dressing helps the incision heal and protects it. Your doctor will tell you how to take care of this.
  • If you do not have tape on the incision, wash the area daily with warm, soapy water, and pat it dry. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing.
  • If the area is bleeding, draining fluid, or rubbing against clothing, you may want to cover it with a gauze bandage. Change the bandage every day and if it gets wet.
  • Keep the area clean and dry.

Bleeding after surgery: When to call

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You are dizzy or lightheaded, or you feel like you may faint.
  • You have bleeding that starts again or gets worse, such as soaking one or more bandages over 2 to 4 hours, even after holding pressure on the area.

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

  • You do not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.