In the absence of complications and in optimal conditions, post-operative wounds progress in a timely manner through the phases of the wound healing process. Wound closure occurs by primary intention (surgical closure), secondary intention (left open to close by the reparative process) and tertiary closure (left open and surgically closed at a later date). Many factors will have an impact on the healing of post-operative wound. Healing occurs as a part of the whole person and is thus influenced by many underlying patient variables as well as environmental factors.
Management of post-operative wounds becomes especially challenging when complicated by infection, dehiscence, and fistula formation. Clinical infection occurs when the bacteria colonisation in and around the wound site rises to a critical level and can lead to a deterioration of the wound condition.
Wound healing may be severely compromised or absent in the presence of infection, so it is crucial that infection is identified and controlled appropriately. Clinical signs of infection include redness, heat, swelling, pain, increased levels of exudate, discoloured granulation tissue, a delay in healing or wound breakdown.
Many wound dressings like Tegaderm with Pad are semi occlusive, thereby offering protection from outside contaminants and helping to reduce the risk of this occurring. Wound dressings containing silver are also now manufactured. The silver acts as an antimicrobial agent, killing the majority of the bacteria that cause problems in wound healing.