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Staple Care


Staples are often used to close a wound. Your staples may be placed for 3 to 14 days, depending on the location of your wound.


Care for your wound:

  • Clean:
    • You may be able to shower in 24 hours. Do not soak your wound under water.
    • Gently wash your wound with soap and warm water daily. Lightly pat it dry. Do not cover your wound unless your healthcare provider tells you to.
    • You may also need to clean your wound with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water. Ask how to do this.
    • Do not apply ointment or cream to the wound unless your healthcare provider tells you to.
  • Elevate:
    • Rest any arm or leg that has a wound on pillows above the level of your heart. Do this as often as possible for 2 days. This will help decrease swelling and pain, and help you heal faster.
  • Minimize scarring:
    • Avoid sunshine on your wound to reduce scarring.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return for a wound checkup 3 days after your staples are placed. Ask when you should return to get your staples removed.

Staple removal:

  • A medical staple remover will be used to take out your staples. Your healthcare provider will slide the tool under each staple, squeeze the handle, and gently pull the staple out.
  • Medical tape will be placed on your wound once your staples are removed. This will help keep your wound closed. The medical tape will fall off on its own after several days.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have redness, pain, swelling, or pus draining from your wound.
  • Your pain medicine does not relieve your pain.
  • You have a fever of 101°F (38.5°C) or higher.
  • You have an odor coming from your wound.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your wound reopens.
  • You have red streaks on your skin that spread out from your wound.
  • You have severe pain or vomiting.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Staple Care (Discharge Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.