Most surgical wounds are closed by wound surgeons with the wound edges held together with mechanical aids such as sutures, staples (clips), paper strips or glue, or a combination of these. This type of closure is known as the primary intention. As a result, the wound has a minimal exposed surface area with very little tissue loss, and in most cases, the wound heals fully with 3-4 weeks as it follows the surgical wound healing process. However, on occasions, the wound dehisces (bursts open) for various reasons and requires wound healing by secondary intention, which means it requires appropriate wound dressings to create an optimum environment to encourage it through the healing process. Post-operative wounds are classified as clean, clean-contaminated, contaminated, and dirty infection.
To reduce complications of surgical wounds, preoperative, intraoperative, and post-surgical wound care are required. The surgical wound complications are bleeding, infection, fistula, wound dehiscence, cavity, and evisceration.
Once mechanical aids are removed, surgical wound management must be continued to observe any signs of dehiscence and infection and overtime for abnormal scar tissue formation, each of which requires a surgical wound consult for appropriate intervention.