If you suffer from recurring open wounds or are recovering from a surgery that requires wound care, there are a few complications you should be made aware of. Good wound care practice will prevent many of these complications. However, even the best prevention doesn’t always prevent all complications.
Here are some of the most common wound care complications, as well as their signs to look out for.
Wound infections may be easy to spot, as many infections are excruciating. Your skin may raise, puff up, and present as flushed. You may also experience a fever and swelling of the lymph nodes in the armpit, groin, or neck. The presence of pus is another indication of infection. Pus is the liquid product resulting from dead white blood cells at the site of a bacterial infection.
Infection happens when bacteria is introduced to the wound site. Maintaining good hygiene, frequent hand washing, cleaning the wound, and dressing it regularly as your doctor recommends are good ways to prevent infection. However, it is essential to get to the doctor for treatment at the first signs of infection.
Periwound dermatitis is inflammation or rash on the skin surrounding the wound. This may happen because of moisture from the wound, reaction to bandaging, and poor wound site management. The best way to prevent periwound dermatitis is to follow your care provider’s wound dressing directions as closely as possible. If you are unable to dress and manage your wounds, you should ask for medical help.
Dehiscence is the medical term for the failure of sutures, staples, or adhesives holding a wound together to heal. Dehiscence may happen due to stress at the wound site, improper suturing from the doctor, or weakened immune systems (such as is found in cancer and diabetes patients). Wound dehiscence should always be addressed with a doctor ASAP, as it can lengthen the healing process and even cause infection.
A hematoma happens when blood collects outside of a vessel. A hematoma might present as a blister, a sizable dark discoloration on the skin, or bruising. Hematomas may appear on the surface of the skin or the outside of any organ. Internal hematomas may present as confusion or disorientation, internal pain around the wound site, or weakness.
Hematomas can be severe, especially if it seems to be spreading, so it is vital to see a doctor if you see a hematoma around the wound site.
Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone. In wound care patients, osteomyelitis typically happens because of an existing infection spreading through the bloodstream and attacking bone. Osteomyelitis presents as a fever, swelling and pain around the infection site, and fatigue caused by the body fighting the infection. Severe osteomyelitis may call for amputation, so you should visit a doctor at the first signs of infection.
Gangrene Or Other Necrosis
Gangrene happens when an area of the body ceases to receive blood supply. The tissue dies and eventually becomes infected. Gangrene infection can quickly spread throughout the body and cause death, so it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention at any sign of tissue necrosis. Early warning signs include shiny skin, skin discoloration, and pain. More advanced gangrene will look dark and lose feeling.
To prevent wound care complications, change your bandages, practice good wound site hygiene, and follow up with your doctor regularly to monitor the healing process of your wound. To schedule an appointment with MVS Woundcare, click here.