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Skin graft above ankle, bruised the area. Is putting this skin graft into water a good idea?

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Cosmetic & Plastic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1993
Answered : 69 Questions
Hi there, my question to you is: I have had a skin graft on my lower right leg, just above the ankle. This is located on the outer section of the leg. it has been a month now, and it is still leaking fluid from around the outer edges of the graft. I'm located in China right now, and the doctor is telling me to place my leg into a bucket of warm water twice a day for 20 minutes at a time. I have also sustained trauma to the graft, my two year old son has kicked it hard by slamming his heal down onto it while laying in the bed. He has also pulled off a stuck piece of gauze from the graft area, resulting in what looks like a bruise on the grafted area about the size of a quarter. So, is putting this skin graft into water for 20 mins. a good idea? it seems kind of risky to me, as if fluid can leak out, then the water could seep in. could this lead to the start of an infection? and do you think the bruised section of the graft is of any concern? That section of the graft seems to be raised up now like a water blister effect on the graft. I'm currently putting a very light coat of Vaseline over the graft and a couple pieces of gauze and wrapping it with an ace bandage to keep the swelling down t a minimum.

Please let me know your thought on this,

Posted Sat, 21 Jul 2012 in Beauty
Answered by Dr. Surindher 11 hours later

Thank you for posting the query.

I went through your mail. The edges of a wound after grafting usually may remain with some wounds, but they usually settle down in few weeks.

The fluid that leaks out is usually edema fluid. Usually after a grafting for the first few weeks we do advise a pressure bandage, especially when it is in the lower limb because the swelling ( edema) will take a few weeks to settle down till the graft matures and all the vascularity is fully established.

As far as washing the wound is concerned, it should not be a problem as long as you dry it up well later on.

Regarding the raised bleb, which you can see, it could be something we call "hypergranulation" at the edges of the wound and which is why I usually prescribe a steroid cream for a few weeks post surgery to use along with the pressure garment.

These two things should help the wound heal as long as it is not infected.

Since I have not see then wound, you can go back to your doctor and ask him to prescribe you a steroid ointment and a pressure bandage which if you use continuously will help the wound heal.

However, the area around the ankle is very prone to injuries so you need to take care of your grafted area very well keep it moisturized and soft to prevent future injuries.

Thank you for your query. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

Please do write back for follow up queries that you may have.

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