The most common causes of surgical wound complications are bacteria, allergic reactions and thin skin at the wound site. Normally, the bacteria present on the skin is harmless because the skin acts as a barrier, but when the skin is broken, bacteria enter and start to grow. Bandages and antibiotic ointments can sometimes cause allergic reactions. If the skin at the surgery wound site is thin, it can also create problems with healing.
You need an evaluation of the wound in order to determine the cause of the complications. Indications of wound complications include abnormal serration of the wound, redness and swelling of the skin at the site, and tenderness around the wound. Sometimes a medical professional will take a wound culture to find a positive cause.
A swollen lump under the skin near the surgery wound may indicate a wound hematoma, a mass of clotted blood. Other symptoms of a hematoma include blood clots that drain from the wound and bleeding from the wound that does not stop.
If the skin around the wound is warm to the touch and red, or if there is tenderness or pain in the area, there is a good chance the wound is infected. Serious infection symptoms include a skin abscess, which is a swollen lump under the skin with pus coming from the wound. Cellulitis, or a deeper reddening of the skin, accompanied by swelling and pain are also indicative of a serious infection. Red streaks coming from the site, nausea, vomiting and fever are more symptoms that may indicate surgery wound complications.
Allergies to bandages, medications or ointments used on the surgery wound may include a red, itchy rash around the wound. Typically, removal of the substance causing the reaction and taking an allergy medication will reduce the symptoms.
Wound dehiscense refers to the abnormal opening of the surgical wound or separation of the wound. Symptoms include wound redness and swelling, separation of wound edges, drainage from the wound or tissue protruding from it, and failure of staples or stitches to keep the wound closed.
Wound complications require immediate treatment, including cleansing and antibiotics for an infection. Sometimes another surgery is necessary to rid the wound of infected tissue or to repair a wound that did not close properly. If there is an abscess present, a doctor may need to incise it and drain away pus.
- Dr. Bodo Schneider, Emergency Medicine, Memorial Medical Center, Springfield, Ilinois
- Surgical Associates at Virginia Hospital Center
Symptoms of a Staph Infection After Surgery
Staphylococcus aureus, which is a bacteria commonly referred to as "staph," is a common organism that lives on the skin but can...
MRSA Itch Symptoms
MRSA is a serious infection related to the more common staphylococcus infection. The infection usually occurs on the skin but can get...
Surgical Wound Closure in Cats Following Spaying
Spaying is the most common surgery performed on female felines, and most cats are pretty much back to normal within a few...
Why is Swelling Around a Wound Good?
When a person is injured, the affected area usually responds by swelling. This is a normal part of inflammation, the body’s way...
How to Identify a Surgical Wound Infection
A surgical wound infection may occur following any type of surgical procedure. Actually, infections following surgery occur fairly frequently, depending on the...
How to Tell if You Have an Infected Wound
Any break in the skin, even a minor abrasion, can become infected. Dirt and bacteria in the environment can enter your bloodstream...
How to Heal Surgical Wounds
Surgical wounds may result from post-surgical incisions, IV sites, skin grafts or other procedures. They are typically closed with stitches, staples or...
How to Tell if MRSA is From an Incision Wound
MRSA is Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, or drug resistant bacterial staph infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control, MRSA is highly contagious...
How to Reduce Swelling and Bruising After Mohs Surgery
Mohs Micrographic Surgery is a specialized surgery commonly used to remove skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma and Squamous cell carcinoma,...
How to Stop Surgical Staple Itching
Surgical staples are constructed from plastic or stainless steel, and are used to close wounds after injury or surgery. The staples are...
Complications After Neutering
Inadequate home care is usually the cause of complications after neutering. Minimizing exercise and an Elizabethan collar reduce a dog's risk of...