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Secondary closure of surgical wound or dehiscence, extensive or complicated

CPT4 code

Name of the Procedure:

Secondary Closure of Surgical Wound or Dehiscence, Extensive or Complicated


Secondary closure of a surgical wound or dehiscence is a procedure where a previously operated or injured wound that has failed to heal properly is closed again. This involves treating the wound to promote healing and then surgically closing it.


This procedure addresses wounds that have reopened or failed to heal, either due to infection, breakdown of the initial closure, or other complications. The goal is to promote proper healing, prevent infection, and restore the integrity of the skin and underlying tissues.


  • Open or gaping surgical wounds that have not healed.
  • Infected or dehiscent wounds.
  • Wounds with significant tissue loss or poor initial closure.
  • Patients with compromised healing due to underlying conditions (e.g., diabetes, immune disorders).


  • Patients may need to fast for several hours before the procedure.
  • Adjustments to medications, particularly blood thinners, as advised by the doctor.
  • Pre-operative blood tests and wound cultures to assess infection.
  • Imaging studies if deeper tissue involvement is suspected.

Procedure Description

  1. Anesthesia: Local or general anesthesia is administered depending on the extent of the wound.
  2. Debridement: Thorough cleaning and removal of dead tissue from the wound.
  3. Irrigation: The wound is irrigated with saline or antibiotic solutions.
  4. Closure: The wound is meticulously sutured using appropriate techniques to bring the tissue edges together without tension.
  5. Dressing: A sterile dressing is applied to protect the wound.

Tools and equipment used may include scalpels, forceps, irrigation systems, sutures, and dressing materials.


The procedure typically takes 1 to 2 hours, depending on the wound's complexity.


It is usually performed in a hospital operating room or a surgical center.


  • Surgeon
  • Surgical nurses
  • Anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist

Risks and Complications

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Scarring
  • Recurrence of dehiscence
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia


  • Proper healing of the wound.
  • Reduced risk of infection.
  • Restoration of skin integrity.
  • Improved cosmetic appearance.


  • Keep the wound clean and dry.
  • Follow specific wound care instructions provided by the healthcare team.
  • Limit physical activity to avoid stress on the wound.
  • Follow-up appointments for wound inspection and suture removal, typically in 7-14 days.
  • Complete recovery may take several weeks to months, depending on wound size and patient health.


  • Conservative wound care (e.g., dressings, wound vacs).
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
  • Skin grafting for extensive tissue loss.
  • Pros and cons vary: conservative care may be less invasive but slower, while grafting can cover large defects but involves more complex surgery.

Patient Experience

  • During the procedure, patients under local anesthesia may feel some pressure but no pain; general anesthesia will prevent awareness.
  • Post-procedure, there may be soreness, swelling, and mild pain, manageable with prescribed painkillers.
  • Regular follow-up and wound care are crucial for optimal healing.

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