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PRINCIPLES OF REPAIR OF EXCISIONAL WOUNDS

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It is important to keep the following in mind:1

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  1. Plan all excisions carefully.

  2. Check previous scars for healing properties.

  3. Aim to keep incision lines parallel to natural skin lines.

  4. Take care in poor healing areas, such as backs, calves and knees; and in areas prone to hypertrophic scarring, such as over the sternum of the chest, and the shoulder.

  5. Use atraumatic tissue-handling techniques.

  6. Practise minimal handling of wound edges.

  7. Use Steri-Strips™ after the sutures are removed.

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WOUNDS AND SUTURING

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Suturing is a fundamental and important skill for which patients may judge the performance quality of their practitioner. This skill involves the appropriate method of treating a wound. Small superficial cuts heal well if debrided and cleaned with a suitable antiseptic such as chlorhexidine, and covered with a clean adhesive dressing.

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STERI-STRIPS™

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The use of Steri-Strips™ for smaller clean wounds is to be encouraged (Fig. 1.1). Children may not tolerate repair of wounds with local anaesthetic and suturing so appropriate closure with Steri-Strips™ after disinfection and drying is recommended—as is the use of their hair for scalp wounds (Chapter 15). Primary sutures should be avoided in significantly contaminated or severely contused wounds, especially if there has been a delay of 4 hours or more before repair. Such wounds should be cleaned, trimmed and a dry dressing applied. It can then undergo primary suturing on the fifth day.

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Fig. 1.1

Steri-Strip™ closure of a clean wound

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Steri-Strips™

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These adhesive strips are ideal for smaller clean cut wounds which should at first be disinfected and dried.

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Method
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  1. It is usual to start in the centre of the wound.

  2. Render the strip taut and straight with a finger on either side of the strip as it is placed over the wound (Fig. 1.1).

  3. Lock it in place then repeat with a series of strips at appropriate intervals. The strips can be bolstered by applying a cross strip parallel to the wound.

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Steri-Strips™ can also be used to supplement a sutured wound.

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How long
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They are usually worn until they fall off or are removed in 5 to 7 days.

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Removal
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Soak in water. Remove any cross strip. Then as you press down on skin, lift one end, then the opposite end and gently lift it off the wound.

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SKIN PREPARATION ANTISEPTIC SOLUTIONS

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  • Aqueous chlorhexidine gluconate

  • Alcoholic chlorhexidine gluconate

  • Chlorhexidine and cetrimide

  • Povidone-iodine (aqueous)

  • Povidone-iodine (alcohol base)

    Rules:

  • Blot dry any pools of preparation solutions.

  • Alcohol-based preparations are flammable.

  • Avoid alcohol on mucous membranes and ...

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