Wound Breakdown as an Open Heart Surgery Complication

(Technically speaking, an open heart surgery is any procedure where the chest is opened, which certainly includes procedures beyond a heart bypass (a valve replacement, for example). However, because a heart bypass is the most common type of open heart surgery, for the purposes of this article, we will be using the terms "bypass" and "open heart surgery" interchangeably.)
 
Wound breakdown occurs when some or all of the skin and tissue layers of your wound do not grow back together correctly. Following open heart surgery, wound breakdown can occur for a number of reasons, including severe swelling or infections. Wound breakdown can also occur in patients that heal poorly. The treatment of the wound breakdown will vary depending on the individual situation. In some instances, the wound can be bandaged daily until it heals.
 
It may take up to several months for the complete wound separation to heal. Other times, surgery is necessary to repair the wound. A wound breakdown could result in an irregular or noticeable scar. If a wound breakdown does occur, your doctor will discuss the treatment options with you.
 
Written by/reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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