Foreign Object Under the Skin (Removed)

An object has been removed from under your skin. Although care was taken to remove all of it, there is always a chance that a small piece may have been left behind.

Most skin wounds heal without problems. But there can be an increased risk for infection if anything stays under the skin. Sometimes the pieces work their way out on their own, and sometimes they can cause an infection. Very small pieces that stay under the skin usually don’t cause a problem or need further treatment.

Home care

Wound care

  • Keep the wound clean and dry.

  • If there is a dressing or bandage, change it when it gets wet or dirty. Otherwise, leave it on for the first 24 hours, then change it once a day or as often as you were instructed.

  • If stitches or staples were used, clean the wound every day:

    • After taking off the dressing, wash the area gently with soap and water.

    • Apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment to the cut. This will keep the wound clean and make it easier to remove the stitches. If it is oozing a lot, you can put a nonstick dressing over it. Then reapply the bandage or dressing as you were instructed.

    • You can get it wet, just like when you clean it. This means you can shower as usual for the first 24 hours. But don't soak the area in water (no baths or swimming) until the stitches or staples are taken out.

  • If surgical tape or strips were used, keep the area clean and dry. If it becomes wet, blot it dry with a towel.  

Medicine

  • You can take over-the-counter medicine for pain, unless you were given a different pain medicine to use. Talk with your healthcare provider before taking these medicines if you have chronic liver or kidney disease, ever had a stomach ulcer or digestive bleeding, or are taking blood-thinner medicines.

  • If you were given antibiotics, take them until they are used up. It's important to finish the antibiotics even if the wound looks better to make sure the infection clears.

Follow-up care

Follow up your healthcare provider, or as advised. Keep in mind the following:

  • Watch for any signs of infection, such as increasing pain, redness, swelling, or pus drainage. If this happens, don’t wait for your scheduled visit. See your healthcare provider sooner.

  • Stitches or staples are usually taken out within 5 to 14 days. This varies depending on what part of your body they are on, and the type of wound. The healthcare provider will tell you how long they should be left in.

  • If surgical tape or strips were used, they are usually left on for 7 to 10 days. You can remove them after that unless you were told otherwise. If you try to remove them, and it is too difficult, soaking can help. If the edges of the cut pull apart, then stop removing the tape, and follow up with your healthcare provider.

  • If X-rays were taken, you will be told if there are new findings that may affect your care.

When to seek medical care

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Increasing pain in the wound

  • Redness, swelling or pus coming from the wound

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