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Help! My Surgical Incision Is Opening!

What To Do If Your Surgical Wound Is Opening

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Updated April 15, 2014

Question: Help, my incision is opening up! What do I do?

Answer:

When a surgical incision starts to open, a problem called dehiscence, you need to call your surgeon. Even if it is minor, such as a suture pulling free and causing a small gap, the opening of an incision allows foreign material like bacteria inside of the wound. This increases the chances of your wound becoming infected and your wound opening further.

In rare circumstances, the opening of a wound can become very serious by either completely opening or eviscerating, which means the internal organs begin to protrude outside of the body through the open incision.

What should you do if your wound is opening? If your wound has just started to dehisce, with only a small portion of the wound opening, cover it with a clean bandage and call your surgeon. If it is wide open, cover it, call your surgeon and plan to be seen by either your surgeon or an emergency room physician right away.

If your wound has both dehisced and eviscerated, follow these instructions and call 911.

More Surgery Information: All About Incision Care

Sources:

Perioperative Nursing Care. Nursing Fundamentals http://www.brooksidepress.org/Products/Nursing_Fundamentals_II/lesson_8_Section_4.htm

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