Wound dehiscence

Last revised by Yuranga Weerakkody on 31 May 2020

Wound dehiscence is a surgical complication whereby there is rupture of a wound along the surgical scar (dehiscence, refers to "splitting open"). This may occur on the skin surface, or along a deeper suture line.

Presentation may be with pain (e.g. sternal dehiscence), or with clinical features of inflammation or infection (e.g. wound infection).

The main radiographic features will be of associated inflammatory change and disruption of normal anatomy (although following surgery, anatomy is often disrupted from its normal appearance). Where dehiscence follows thoracoabdominal surgery, there will often be additional gas within the soft tissues (which does not necessarily indicate infection).

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