Wound Dehiscence Treatment, Risks and Complications

Wound Dehiscence

Wound dehiscence is typically a complication resulting from surgery, where the wound breaks back open where stitches or sutures have been used. There are many things that can cause this, but common risk factors include age, treated condition, and other existing medical issues. The obese are particularly at risk because the sutures and staples have to work harder to keep the surgical site closed.

If at some point during the wound healing process, your treated area breaks open, there are a lot of factors that will determine how your health care provider will correct the situation. Some of the more common practices are allowing granulation (allowing the growth of granulation tissue to promote healing) and alternatively, cutting the edges of and re-stitching the wound closed and treating the patient with antibiotics. In more extreme cases, debridement of wounds may be necessary. This procedure involves removing dead or damaged tissue to encourage the healing of the remaining tissue. A common example of this would be burn wounds. There are many methods of this procedure used today, but they are dependent on size, type and location of wound, and the amount of available time as many trauma situations are time sensitive.

Serious complications can arise from wound dehiscence. Thus even a small separation of your wound or surgical site should be reported to your doctor immediately. Infection can occur in areas where dehiscence has occurred thus using a wound cleanser gently in conjunction with your normal treatment might be recommended. While infection is the most common type of complication that can arise from wound dehiscence, another much more severe but thankfully rare condition can occur; wound evisceration. This condition is life threatening, and requires immediate medical care. This complication of wound dehiscence is characterized by not only the separation of wound edges, but organs from the abdominal cavity protruding from the wound. In the most extreme cases, entire organs, such as the intestines, can literally fall out of the now open wound.

Separation of surgical sites always requires medical attention. If evisceration is present, call emergency services immediately. Not treating this condition can lead to infection and further complications.