What is wound dehiscence? How does this happen?

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dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The term dehiscence means a bursting open, wound dehiscence means the bursting open of a surgical wound. The sutures come loose and the structures under the wound come out of the body.  A leading cause of surgical wound dehiscence is poor nutrition. Proper nutrition is important in order for all wounds to heal properly. A sufficient amount of protein is especially important because proteins help to repair tissues. Sometimes dehiscence is caused by extreme coughing. A good example of this is when one underwent abdominal surgery and either sutures or staples closed the surgical incision. When we cough the abdominal and thoracic pressures change. Violent coughing can make the epidermal layers of the skin come apart. Postoperative patients are taught to "splint" when they cough. A pillow is used to put over the abdomen and lightly press down when coughing. Medications to prevent or lessen coughing are commonly given to try and prevent surgical wound dehiscence.