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Caring for dehisced wounds in the community

Dehisced surgical wounds are a common occurrence and are seen both in primary and secondary care. The impact of a dehisced wound is far reaching. For the National Health Service, there are increased in-patient costs and additional resources in terms of an extended healing time, such as staffing and dressing materials and therapies. For the patient, a dehisced wound can impact significantly on their wellbeing and quality of life and for patients of working age, the economic impact of not being able to work can be enormous. This article discusses the incidence of wound dehiscence, outlines the types of wounds which are most likely to dehisce, and the most common reason for this, wound infection. Strategies for managing wound infection, including the use of antiseptic and antimicrobial products, together with a frequently used therapy, topical negative pressure therapy (TNPT), are also discussed.