Wound dehiscence is the parting of the layers of a surgical wound. Either the surface layers separate or the whole wound splits open. This is a serious condition and requires care from your doctor.
Wound dehiscence varies depending on the kind of surgery you have. The following is a list of generalized causes:
- Infection at the wound
- Pressure on sutures
- Sutures too tight
- Injury to the wound area
- Weak tissue or muscle at the wound area
- Incorrect suture technique used to close operative area
- Poor closure technique at the time of surgery
- Use of high-dose or long-term corticosteroids
- Severe vitamin C deficiency ( scurvy )
The following factors increase your chance of developing wound dehiscence.
- Increasing age
- Poor nutrition
- Malignant growth
- Presence of prior scar or radiation at the incision site
- Non-compliance with post-operative instructions (such as early excessive exercise or lifting heavy objects)
- Surgical error
- Increased pressure within the abdomen due to: fluid accumulation (ascites); inflamed bowel; severe coughing, straining, or vomiting
- Long-term use of corticosteroid medications
- Other medical conditions, such as diabetes , kidney disease , cancer , immune problems, chemotherapy , or radiation therapy
If you experience one or more of these symptoms in the surgical area, contact your doctor.
- Broken sutures
- Open wound
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and examine the surgical area. Tests may include the following:
Laboratory tests, such as:
- Wound and tissue cultures to determine if there is an infection
- Blood tests to determine if there is an infection
- Imaging studies, such as:
- Antibiotic therapy
- When appropriate, frequent changes in wound dressing to prevent infection
- When appropriate, wound exposure to air to accelerate healing and prevent infection, and allow growth of new tissue from below
- Surgical removal of contaminated, dead tissue
- Placement of a temporary or permanent piece of mesh to bridge the gap in the wound
If you are diagnosed with wound dehiscence, follow your doctor's instructions .
- When appropriate, have antibiotic therapy prior to surgery.
- When appropriate, have antibiotic therapy after surgery.
- When using wound dressing, maintain light pressure on wound.
- Keep wound area clean.
- Comply with post-operative instructions.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -