A surgical wound is defined as an incision or cut in the skin, usually by a scalpel during a surgical procedure. The wound might be due to the placement of a drain. It is typically sealed with sutures but oftentimes left open to heal.
There are 4 categories of surgical wounds. A wound is categorized based on the risk for infection, if clean or contaminated and location in the body.
- Class I – these are clean wounds without any signs of infection or inflammation
- Class II – these are clean-contaminated wounds without any signs of infection, but there is a high risk for infection.
- Class III – these are contaminated wounds where the incision was exposed to an object
- Class IV – this is a dirty-contaminated wound which have been exposed to fecal material
What are the indications?
A surgical wound is regularly monitored to ensure that it is healing correctly. The infections might only affect the skin, underlying tissues or implants.
The signs of an infected surgical wound include:
- Increasing pain and redness around the wound
- Drainage of pus
- Delayed healing
- Foul odor or drainage from the wound
In some instances, an infected surgical wound might appear dry or deep. In some cases, fever might also be present.
Management of an infected surgical wound
The treatment for a surgical wound is based on its site. Surgical dressing is usually applied over the wound and must be changed regularly.
The skin bordering the surgical wound must be cleaned, often with soap and salt water. The wound should also be irrigated with salt water.
The care for a surgical wound at home involves regular changing of dressings and cleaning. An over-the-counter pain medication can be taken to lessen the discomfort.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on a surgical wound is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly care for this type of wound, register for a first aid and CPR course with Victoria First Aid.