Surgical wounds are created when a surgeon makes an incision in your skin using a scalpel. Since the skin is a natural barrier against infections, an infection can quickly develop when bacteria enter the incision site. For this reason, specialists recommend keeping the incision site clean to reduce the risk of developing surgical wound complications Dallas. Below are two common wound complications.
Common wound complications
- Wound infection
A wound infection occurs when bacteria grow within the damaged skin, causing symptoms such as swelling, pain, redness, and pus draining from the wound. If an infection is severe, you may experience other symptoms such as fever and chills, nausea, vomiting, and an unpleasant odor from the wound. Mild wound infections often get better with simple measures such as keeping the surgical site clean and changing the dressings. However, sometimes it may not show signs of improvement, and in such cases, you need to see a doctor.
You are more likely to develop a wound infection if the surgical incision is deep or has a jagged edge. Other factors such as malnutrition, old age, lack of mobility and diabetes, and poor blood circulation predispose you to wound infection. Lack of treatment for a wound infection may lead to severe complications such as osteomyelitis, a bone infection. The infection may enter the bloodstream causing an extreme immune reaction called sepsis.
- Wound dehiscence
Wound dehiscence or wound separation is a surgical complication when an incision ruptures or separates after being stitched together. It usually occurs three to ten days after a surgical procedure due to different reasons such as incorrect suture technique, injuries, infections, stretching of the wound, or early stitch removal. If wound dehiscence goes untreated, you may develop wound evisceration – a medical emergency whereby internal organs stick out through the cut.
How can I prevent surgical wound complications?
Before any surgical procedure, it is essential to consult with your doctor to know how you can reduce your risk of wound complications. An initial consultation allows your doctor to go through your medical history, establishing whether you are at risk of wound complications. Your doctor may recommend stopping smoking a few weeks before surgery since smoking interferes with wound healing. Patients with chronic health problems such as diabetes may also be more likely to develop an infection after surgery. You may also need to avoid the skin area your doctor plans to operate through.
Bacteria may enter the surgical sites when you touch the surrounding skin. For this reason, you should not let your loved ones touch your wound, no matter how curious they are. You also need to follow your doctor’s post-operative wound care instructions. Be sure to contact your doctor if you develop symptoms of infection, such as pain and redness near the wound.
Treatment for surgical wound complications
If you have a wound infection, your doctor may start you on antibiotics for at least one week. Your prescription period varies depending on the severity of the infection. You may need invasive surgical treatment to remove infected and dead tissue.
If you have any signs of wound infection such as fever, drainage from the wound, pain, and redness, consult your doctor at Wound Evolution.