After the surgery check your scar and stump daily for any signs of infection. Call your doctor or go to the emergency room of your local hospital if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- the scar has pulled apart
- there is a bad odour coming from the scar
- the scar or stump becomes red, hot or very swollen
- pus or thick discharge coming from the scar, normal discharge should be watery but pus will smell very bad and be yellow or green and thick
- a sudden increase in pain or a tender spot that feels hot
- you develop a fever
- blood clots
When you are discharged from hospital you should receive instructions on avoiding blood clots and deep vein thrombosis. If you notice any of the following symptoms notify your doctor immediately or go to your nearest emergency room.
- Swelling in places away from the stump (ie. the thigh, the skin may be red and hot)
- Lower parts of the remaining limb becoming pale or cold
- Sharp pains in the leg
- Difficulty breathing or chest pain.
Changing a Wound Dressing
- Gather all the necessary equipment: new dressing, soap, warm salt water or a purchased saline solution, surgical gloves, gauze and a small ziplock plastic bag.
- Have all the equipment ready on a clean surface. Remove jewellery from your fingers and wash your hands with soap and water for 15-30 seconds. Dry your hands on a clean towel and put on the gloves.
- Pull off the dressing carefully, place it in the plastic bag. Wash the wound by dabbing with gauze moistened in salt water. Remove all debris such as dry blood. Dry with a piece of clean dry gauze.
- Remove the gloves then wash your hands. Put on a new dressing and place all used items in a plastic bag for disposal. Wash your hands again. If there is wound leakage on clothes or bandages change them.
It is important to check your wound every day. It is natural to feel squeamish when you see a wound, especially your own, so if inspecting your wound is upsetting have someone else inspect it for you. A healthy wound will have some swelling and discharge but the sutures will not be pulling apart and the wound will not smell bad.