Steri-Strips are bandage-like small pieces of tape that are often applied on incision after surgery. They are usually applied in addition to stitches or after stitches are removed to assist in healing of the wound, and sometimes even in place of stitches. They help keep the wound closed and help reduce scarring.

Your surgeon will most likely tell you to wait until the Steri-Strips fall off on their own which will happen due to showering and body’s own skin oils, in most cases in about 10-14 days. Waiting will not cause any harm or change the outcome of the wound’s final appearance.

Your surgeon will likely suggest waiting at least 24 to 48 hours before getting the area wet. Afterwards, it is best to gently cleanse the area with water and mild soap. Avoid rubbing the Steri-Strips, just let water go over them. Carefully pat dry with a clean towel.

While it is safe to take a regular shower, it is important not to allow the incision to be wet for too long. A wet incision is a breeding ground for bacteria and can also lead to softening of the skin which decreases the strength of the skin. Steri-strips may look dirty and that is normal, they should be allowed to remain in place until ready.

If the ends of the Steri-Strips begin to curl, trim the edges to keep them neat.

If necessary, your surgeon should advise you on how to remove them. Unlike with band aids, you need to be very gentle and cautious. If you tug at them forcefully, you will possibly do harm.

Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water, clean under your nails. Peel each strip from one end, a bit at a time. If the strips are stuck to the skin, do not pull as you don’t want to remove the scab. You should not soak the scab as this may cause it to fall off too early, so unless your surgeon says otherwise, leave it be.

After Steri-Strips are removed, wash the area with soap and water and pat it dry. Do not rub or scrub, the wound is still healing. Any patches of dried blood or skin should be left to fall off on their own.

Avoid lotions or clothing that could be irritating until your surgeon says they are safe to use.

If your Steri-Strips come off and the incision reopens after the Steri-Strips are removed or partially removed, seek medical care. A reopened incision may end up in an unsightly scar and even infection.

If you have any signs of infection, such as swelling or fever, seek urgent medical care.