Skip to content

The Three Most Common Wound Complications Are Infection, Dehiscence, and Delayed Healing

  • by
Common Wound Complications

There are three primary types of wound complications: infection, dehiscence, and ischemia. Each of these can lead to serious consequences if not treated promptly and properly.

Infection is the most common complication and can occur in any type of wound. Bacteria enter the wound through open skin or contaminated instruments, and multiply rapidly in the warm, moist environment. Symptoms include redness, swelling, pain, drainage, and fever. If left untreated, infection can spread to the bloodstream or surrounding tissues and cause life-threatening illness.

Dehiscence occurs when stitches or staples holding a wound together come loose or tear through the skin. This can allow bacteria to enter the wound and cause infection. It can also lead to pain and bleeding. Dehiscence is more common in deep wounds or those that involve large amounts of tissue damage.

Ischemia occurs when blood flow to a wound is impaired due to blockage of arteries or veins. This can cause tissue death (gangrene) as well as severe pain and disability if not treated promptly with surgery or other interventions. Ischemia is a particularly serious complication in diabetes patients who often have underlying vascular disease that predisposes them to this condition.

Surgical Site Infections. Infection is the most common wound care complication and is caused by any break in the skin that allows bacteria to enter

Surgical site infections (SSIs) are the most common type of wound infection. They can occur after any type of surgery, but are most common after abdominal or orthopedic procedures. SSIs can delay healing, increase the risk of complications, and prolong hospital stays.

There are several factors that contribute to the development of SSIs. These include:

Bacteria on the skin: Bacteria are always present on our skin, even if we can not see them. Before surgery, surgeons will cleanse the skin with an antiseptic solution to reduce the number of bacteria present. However, it is impossible to remove all bacteria and some will always remain.

Surgical instruments: Surgical instruments also harbor bacteria. Even if they have been sterilized before use, there is always a small chance that some bacteria may remain on them. When these instruments are used during surgery, they can introduce new bacteria into the wound site.

Blood flow: The blood circulation around a surgical wound helps to keep it clean and free from infection by bringing white blood cells (which fight infection) to the area and carrying away debris and dead tissue cells. If blood flow is poor (as in patients with diabetes or peripheral vascular disease), this process may be less effective and infections may be more likely to occur..

Wound Dehiscence

Wound dehiscence occurs when the edges of a surgical wound open up. This can happen for a number of reasons, including infection, poor healing, and excessive tension on the wound. Wound dehiscence can be a serious complication, as it can lead to further infection and even organ damage. Treatment typically involves re-opening the wound and cleaning it out, as well as performing skin grafts or other surgeries to close the wound.


The most common symptom of a hematoma is a lump or swelling at the site of the injury. The area may be tender to the touch and may bruise easily. In some cases, hematomas can lead to complications such as infection or nerve damage.

Treatment for a hematoma typically involves ice and elevation to reduce swelling. If the hematoma is large or persistent, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove it.


A se roma is a collection of clear yellow fluid that can sometimes develop after surgery. It occurs when the body starts to heal and forms scar tissue around the wound. The scar tissue puts pressure on the blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, which are responsible for carrying away excess fluid from the tissues. This pressure can cause the vessels to leak, and the leaked fluid collects in the space between the skin and underlying tissue (known as a se roma).

Seromas are most common after surgeries that involve large incisions, such as those made during a mastectomy (breast cancer surgery) or abdominoplasty (tummy tuck surgery). They can also occur after less invasive procedures, such as biopsies or liposuction. In some cases, multiple se romas may form in different areas of the body.

Most se romas are harmless and will eventually go away on their own without treatment. However, large or persistent se romas can cause pain or discomfort, and may lead to other complications such as infection or skin breakdown. For these reasons, some surgeons will place drains near incisions during surgery to help prevent se romas from forming. If a se roma does develop, it can often be treated with simple needle aspiration-a procedure in which a needle is used to remove fluid from the area. In some cases, larger se romas may require surgical drainage.


There are many possible wound complications that can occur, but the three most common are infection, dehiscence, and necrosis. Infection is by far the most common complication, and can occur even in small or superficial wounds if they are not properly cleaned and treated. Dehiscence is when the wound edges come apart, which can happen if the wound is too deep or if there is too much tension on the stitches. Necrosis is when tissue dies, usually due to a lack of blood supply. This can happen in deep wounds where there is not enough blood flow to keep the tissue alive.