A surgical wound is a cut or an incision in the skin that is usually made using a scalpel during surgery. Surgical wounds are typically closed with stitches, staples or surgical glue.
Post surgical wound care involves skin cleansing, protecting and monitoring, the objective is to prevent complications and enable rapid wound healing.
In most cases, with good care, the surgical incisions will completely heal within approximately 2 weeks.
Most surgical wounds heal by primary intentions.
- The wound is closed immediately after the intervention
- Good approximation of wound edges (stitches, staples, or adhesive tape)
- Primary wound healing occurs within hours of repairing a full-thickness surgical incision.
- Normal epithelial cell migration across the incision occurs within 24 – 48h
- Minimises scarring
- Examples: well-repaired lacerations, well-reduced bone fracture, healing after flap surgery
However, 1 – 3 out of every 100 patients that underwent surgery develop a surgical site infection.
Therefore, in addition to the correct wound management, it is important to monitor the wound for complications:
- Hematoma formation
- Occlusion of blood supply resulting in necrosis
Signs of infection:
- Increased exudate/pus
- Elevated temperature
Surgical Site Infections Quick Guide.pdf
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