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Open Wounds

Patient information A-Z

An open wound is usually closed by sutures (stitches), staples (metal clips), wound closure strips (paper stitches) or medical glue (super glue). The method chosen depends on the type of wound to be closed.

Your wound has been closed using …………. which should be removed in …………. days.

Sutures and clips will usually be removed by your General Practitioner (GP) or the practice nurse.

Please make the necessary appointment.

Wound closure strips

Wound closure strips can be removed after five to ten days depending on the type of injury. The paper strips should be moistened for about ten minutes and carefully removed. This can be done at home by yourself, or, by your GPs practice nurse. Occasionally, wound closure strips fall off before the wound has healed. If this happens, please return to the department.


Medical glue is specially designed to treat wounds.

It is important to keep the wound clean and dry for five days. A scab will form which will come away once you start washing the area. Please do not pick at this even if it starts to itch. There is a small chance the wound will re-open, if it does, please return to the department.

Care of the wound

In most cases your wound will have been covered with a suitable dressing.

Do not remove the dressing unless you are instructed to do so.

Keep the wound dry, wash around where possible.

Do not cover with waterproof fingerstalls, plastic bags etc, unless you are advised to do so. This will make the wound soggy and more prone to infection.

If the dressing becomes soiled or wet, it should be replaced.

If the wound becomes painful, red, swollen, smelly or discharges, please inform your GP.

The redness of the scar may take six months or more to fade in colour and may not completely disappear.

If you need further advice, please contact the nursing staff of the emergency department on 01223 217119.

Privacy and dignity

Same sex bays and bathrooms are offered in all wards except critical care and theatre recovery areas where the use of high-tech equipment and/or specialist one to one care is required.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151