Donor Site Care (Xeroform)
Plastic Surgery Patients
What to Expect
When you return from surgery you will have
a bulky dressing in place over the area from
which your skin was taken. This area is
called the donor site. You may have some
drainage oozing from the site. It may be
blood tinged. The dressing will be removed
the next day. There will be yellow gauze
over the donor site called xeroform
(zeroform). This gauze will remain in place
until the donor site is dry. Then, you will
start to remove this gauze.
Routine Donor Site Care
The donor site is “dried” using a blow dryer
on a low, cool setting. Blow dry the donor
site for 15 to 30 minutes at least 4-5 times a
day. You should keep doing this until the
gauze over the donor site is dry. When the
gauze is completely dry, you can gently peel
it off to expose the skin beneath it. Any
“new skin” that you expose should be
covered with Nivea ≤ or Elte Lite lotion at
least three times a day.
1. It may take a few days for the donor site
to dry. It may take longer if the donor
site is very large. The more you use the
blow dryer, the quicker it should dry.
2. Be sure the donor site is completely dry
before peeling off the gauze. The gauze
will feel hard to the touch at this point,
and may have scabbing on top of it.
3. The gauze over the donor site will dry
from the edges toward the middle. As
the edges dry, the gauze will curl up.
These curled edges can be trimmed with
scissors. It may take a few days to
remove the entire gauze from the donor
4. If the gauze is peeled off too quickly, the
skin under the gauze will stay raw and
moist and may bleed. You should stop
peeling and continue to blow dry if this
5. Healed donor sites are a deeper pink/red
color. They look like a sunburn. The
color will fade over time.
6. You should not soak in a tub or shower
with the gauze intact unless your doctor
tells you to do so. Once the gauze is dry,
it is best to peel it off. If you get it wet,
it may cause the skin underneath to get
moist and sticky again, and you would
have to begin blow drying the donor site
7. You will feel some pain when you peel
the gauze away. Once it is removed and
the Nivea ≤ or Elte Lite ≤ lotion is
applied, the area will feel much better
and less “tight”.
When to Call the Doctor
ξ Any increased redness (about 1 inch
in width) and swelling around the
ξ Foul smelling drainage or pus from
the donor site.
ξ Your temperature is greater than
100.5 θ F.
ξ Pain not controlled with medicine.
If you have any questions or problems once
you are home, please call:
Plastic Surgery Clinic: Monday-Friday
from 8:00-4:30 pm, at (608) 263-7502.
After 4:30 pm, weekends or holidays, the
clinic number is answered by the paging
operator. Ask for the Plastic Surgeon on
call. Leave your name and phone
number with the area code. The doctor
will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call the toll-free
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 2/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5313