8.0 Different types of wounds Listen


Observe the dressing and wound site:
Do not change the dressing if it is clean and dry.

  • If the wound dressing has exudates soaked through it should be replaced. Consideration should be given to a suitable dressing for the absorption of exudate by referring to local wound guidelines.  The wound should be observed and nursing interventions recorded in the nursing documentation.


Clean, dry wounds:
Dry wounds should be treated dry.


Infected wounds:
The wound should be irrigated and cleaned with non-woven sterile gauze.  The wound should be irrigated with sterile saline solution.  A wound swab should then be taken and sent for culture and sensitivity.

Important questions to consider when observing surgical wounds:

  • Bleeding – check if it is seeping or trickling, what should be done?
  • Is there tenderness or pain around the wound edges, what should be done?
  • Swelling could be a haematoma. What should be done in such cases?
  • Redness around the wound edges. If the redness is over 2cm, an infection is indicated.
  • Pyrexia can be a clear sign of infection in combination with redness and swelling around the wound edges.
  • Does the suture line seem swollen?
  • Exudate, colour, amount and odour?

Symptoms of infected surgical wounds are redness, pyrexia, pain, swelling and excessive exudates.