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Wound Dehiscence


Wound dehiscence is when part or all of a wound comes apart. You may need medicine, wound care, surgery, or wound devices to help treat your wound. Wound dehiscence can become life-threatening.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your heart is beating faster than usual, or you feel dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You see tissue coming through your wound.
  • You feel like your wound is opening up more.
  • Your wound oozes yellow or green pus, looks swollen or red, or feels warm.

Contact your healthcare provider or surgeon if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • Your wound leaks fluid or a small amount of blood.
  • Your pain gets worse or does not get better after you take pain medicine.
  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Antibiotics help treat a bacterial infection.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Wound care:

  • Wash your hands often. Use soap and water. Wash your hands before and after you touch your wound. This will help to prevent an infection.
  • Clean your wound as directed. Ask your healthcare provider if it okay to shower or take a bath. Let the soap and water run over your wound. Gently pat the area dry. Look for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus.
  • Change your bandages as directed. Replace bandages after you clean the wound or bathe. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty. If directed, pack your wound. Change the packing as directed.
  • Do not swim or go in hot tubs until your healthcare provider says it is okay. Hot tubs and pools can cause infection and prevent wound healing.
  • Wear your binder or splint at all times or as directed. These devices help hold your wound together.
  • Use devices as directed to help the wound heal. Your healthcare provider will show you how to care for your wound device.

Self-care to promote healing:

  • Rest as directed. Do not lift anything heavier than 5 pounds. Do not do activities that may put stress on your wound, such as running or sports. Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to your usual activities.
  • Eat foods high in protein. Protein will help your wound heal. Protein can be found in lean meat, fish, beans, and low-fat dairy. Your healthcare provider may also recommend certain drinks for added protein.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can prevent your wound from healing. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or surgeon as directed:

You will need to return to have your wound checked. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Wound Dehiscence (Aftercare Instructions)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.