Once you are home after surgery, and brave enough to look at your post-surgery bandage, also called a dressing, you may notice some blood on your dressing. You may ask yourself, “Was that there before?” “Is it normal to have blood on my dressing?” “Am I bleeding underneath my dressing?” “Did I sleep on my dressing wrong?” So many uncertainties after surgery. Then you may think “well, I don’t want to be a crybaby.” Or on the other hand you may say “Oh my gosh, I’m bleeding to death!” Coming home from surgery is scary especially if it’s your first surgery, most especially if you have no medical or nursing background.
I’ve had a patient call me and say “I am bleeding, there is blood on my bandage.” I asked, “Was it there before you left the surgery center?” Most often, they will answer, “I can’t remember, I didn’t notice, I didn’t pay attention.” I assessed it. It looked as though that when her dressing was applied in the operating room, the surgical tech must have had some blood on his or her gloves, placed the sterile dressing on, and left the “fingerprints” of blood on the surface of the dressing. However, if you have no medical/nursing background, you may interpret this as “blood on the dressing.” Thank goodness she called me, she was given peace of mind.
Normally you should not have any blood soaking through your dressing. It should be clean, white and dry.
Sometimes blood will trickle out of the incision site. This is blood that was sitting in the incision opening. The site was sutured or stapled, and that leftover blood trickles out as you move about in bed. There are no blood vessels opened and bleeding, it’s just leftover blood that was sitting in the cavity needing to get out, so it leaks through the staples and onto the dressing. There is no active bleeding, just some leftover blood that seeped through while in the recovery room. This is seen under the dressing. It usually has the color of a bordeaux wine. This is normal.
Take careful note that it does not get bigger or brighter red. Take a picture if you have to for comparison.
Bright red blood that is new since you came home, that soaks through to the surface of the dressing is not normal. Bright red is the red on a stop sign. Give your doctor a call and explain that there is new bright red blood that is soaking through to the top of the bandage. He or she may tell you to put pressure on it and go to the emergency room or the doctor’s office to have it evaluated.
For peace of mind and expert care, you can always count on a Signature Nurse to be by your side to help evaluate your dressings, communicate with your doctor, and help you feel safe and secure. Contact us for a free consultation.
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