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Richard asked...

Arm abscess

I had an incision and drain procedure performed on my arm to drain an abscess. The wound has been packed and a dressing applied. The consultant has advised this is changed every other day. At what point will the wound not need packing any longer and will I be able to change dressings at home?

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The answer

In terms of your wound the packing is necessary to ensure healthy healing from the bottom of the wound bed to the top, healing times will vary from person to person and can be anything from two to six weeks sometimes a little longer depending on the depth of the wound bed.

There are some things you can do to help yourself such as ensuring you are eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, key vitamins for healing are known as ACE, vitamins A C and E and are found in the foods mentioned above, alternatively a daily vitamin supplement containing all the daily requirements of vitamins taken each day over six to eight weeks can aid your healing as well.

Once the wound no longer requires packing which will be when the depth of the wound bed is almost equal to the top layer of skin then you may be allowed to change the dressing yourself as course. It will need monitoring at that stage just to ensure that it continues into the final stages of healing in a healthy manner.

Once you have completed your healing a twice daily application of a pure vitamin E cream to the area for 6-8 weeks will also be beneficial as new skin does not produce its own moisture initially necessary for healthy cell formation and this can also help to minimise any scarring left from the incision and wound.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses

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