Terms to Know: Surgical Wounds

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by the WoundSource Editors

Acute Wound: A wound that is following a predicted pattern of healing that should result in complete functional closure.

Chronic Wound: A wound that has failed to re-epithelialize after three months, usually because of failure to progress past the inflammatory phase of wound healing.

Epidermal Resurfacing/Stratification: Epidermal cells that proliferate and migrate across the surface of the wound from the wound margins and develop multilayered/stratified layers of epidermis.

Evidence-based Clinical Practice: Making decisions about patient care based on literature evidence regarding a particular topic; involves combining clinical expertise, patient preferences, and best available evidence from high-quality research.

Intervention: An action taken in the patient’s plan of care with intended benefit for the patient, such as emergency surgery to repair a bowel perforation.

Laparotomy: A surgical incision created for abdominal surgery, typically exploratory and sometimes an emergency.

Perfusion: The passage of blood through arteries and capillaries into tissues or organs; when insufficient, there is an increased chance the patient may have complications.

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Primary Closure: The closure of layers incised during the procedure, up to the skin level; wires, drains, or other devices or objects may extrude from the incision and the wound would still be considered primarily closed.

Risk Factor: A patient-related quality that creates higher susceptibility for a given condition, such as diabetes creating an increased chance for a patient to develop a surgical site infection.

Surgical Site Infection (SSI): An infection of a surgical wound, tissue, or organ space adjacent to the wound, occurring within 30 days of the procedure without involvement of surgical implants, and 90 days if an implant is involved.

Wound Class: The assessment of degree of contamination present in the surgical wound at the time of the operation.

Wound Dehiscence: The separation of closed wound layers following primary closure.

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