Wound Separation After Stitches Were Removed: What to Do

Wound dehiscence happens when a surgical wound, that was stitched or stapled closed opens up again. Your abdomen area is more vulnerable to this condition. Possible causes of wound separation include excessive force or pressure that outstretches the stitches. This can happen due to weightlifting, coughing, and similar other actions.

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    Can a Wound Split After Stitches Removed?

    Every wound-healing process is based on four stages.

    • Hemostasis
    • Inflammatory
    • Proliferative
    • Maturation

    Wounds going through these phases can split due to the following causes:

    1. Tension on the Wound:
      The risk of wound separation increases when the stitches bear excessive tension due to heavy actions and careless movements. This also counts as negligence of post-operative wound care guidelines.
    2. Infection:
      If the wound becomes infected, the surrounding tissues can get weak. This can delay the healing process due to the probability of wound dehiscence.
    3. Poor Blood Supply:
      Improper blood supply to the wound site can disrupt the transfer of oxygen and nutrients required for proper healing. Conditions such as vascular diseases or poor general circulation can also contribute to poor blood supply.
    4. Obesity:
      Individuals who are overweight can have a high risk of wound dehiscence due to compromised blood flow, delayed wound healing, and heightened tension on the incision site.
    5. Malnutrition:
      Poor nutritional status can disrupt the body’s capability to heal wounds. Proper consumption of nutrients, especially protein, is important for the formation of fresh tissues.
    6. Chronic Illnesses:
      Chronic conditions including diabetes and autoimmune disorders can affect your natural ability to heal wounds properly.
    7. Age:
      Old age can be a cause, as aging is linked with changes in skin elasticity and reduced collagen production, which are crucial for wound closure.

    Wound Gaping Treatment

    If a wound separates after stitches removal, consider it a medical emergency. Your next steps should be:

    • Stay Calm:
      Calm yourself as it can be scary to see a wound separating. But panicking will only elevate tension and stress to make the situation even worse.
    • Contact Your Healthcare Provider:
      Immediately contact your surgeon who performed the procedure. Explain the situation and adhere to their advice. They will assess your condition and offer you a particular treatment.
    • Keep the Area Clean:
      Practice good wound hygiene. Wash the area carefully with mild soap and water. Avoid harsh chemicals or alcohol-based solutions, as they can irritate the wound.
    • Apply Antibiotic Ointment:
      Apply a prescribed gel or antibiotic ointment to keep the infection away. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.
    • Protect the Wound:
      Keep the wound protected from trauma, friction, or tension. You can use sterile dressings or bandages to cover the wound. Your surgeon can guide you on the right dressing.
    • Avoid Stretching or Straining:
      Reduce actions and activities that could put a strain on the wound. Such as heavy lifting or exercises that can pull on the wound.
    • Monitor for Signs of Infection:
      Keep an eye out for signs of infection, including increased redness, swelling, warmth, or oozing pus. If you notice any of these signs, contact your healthcare provider promptly.
    • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle:
      Ensure the consumption of a healthy diet, proper hydration, and rest. These factors contribute to the entire wound-healing process.

    Questions About Wound Separation After Stitches Were Removed: What to Do ?

    See What Our Patients Are Saying About Us

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    I had severe wounds in both lower legs due to a severe case of cellulitis. I was in acute pain and worried about my prognosis.

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    I had an accident that injured my leg and I didn’t see a doctor for over a week. I noticed that the wound was not healing so I went to the Emergency at Novato Community Hospital. They told me to see a wound specialist ASAP and they recommended Dr. Anthony Gordon at the Marin Advanced Wound Center.

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    My father got treatment from Dr. Gordon for his burn wound. Dr. Gordon was very caring, attentive and spent generous amounts of time to give him very effective treatment.

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    Bottom Line

    Wound separation after stitches removal is uncommon. However, be careful with your wound healing duration and follow through with the instructions properly.

    Don’t forget to consult a wound care specialist like Anthony K. Gordon, physician and founder at Marin Advanced Wound Center. Call us at (415) 429 4225 to book an appointment today.

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