How long should it take for wound to stop spreading and start healing? (Photo)

I had a breast reduction on Feb 4 and incision started separating approx 2 weeks after. My open wound is quite large and very painful now. I am seen weekly by my PS who has ordered twice daily wet to dry dressing changes as my treatment. The affected area seems to grow daily, when can I expect it to stop getting larger and actually begin healing? The sight of it is overwhelming and depressing. Is there anything I can do to speed healing?

Doctor Answers 5

How long should it take for wound to stop spreading and start healing?

Dehiscence in a breast reduction is unfortunately a complication that can occur and it takes months to heal. There is no effective way to speed up the healing and your surgeon is taking the correct course of treatment. What will happen is the skin will slowly grow across the exposed areas until the edges coalesce for complete coverage. Then wait 6 months so the scar tissue can mature and soften at which time you can consider scar revision. It is also very important to pay attention to your emotional state of mind, as this can be a very trying experience for you and your family. Frequent contact with your plastic surgeon for re-assurance can take you a long way. Keep in mind that this WILL heal, and surprisingly, your breasts can heal and look very good after the treatment is done. Hang in there! Let us know how you are doing. Thanks for sharing.

Cincinnati Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

How long should it take for wound to stop spreading and start healing?

I'm sorry to hear about the complication you have experienced after breast reduction surgery. These complications can be very stressful for patients and surgeons. Although it is not possible to give you precise  assessment and/or advice without direct examination or viewing pictures, some general comments may be helpful to you.

Incision line opening and or wound healing problems are complications seen occasionally after breast reduction surgery. For the vast majority of patients who experience these types of complications, their wounds go on to heal with dressing changes,  over the course of a few weeks (sometimes months depending on the size of the wound). Occasionally, some patients require  surgical intervention,  such as debridement, wound closure vac device treatment, skin grafting.

 Most importantly, I would suggest that you  continue to follow up closely with your plastic surgeon who is in the best position to evaluate your situation and treat any issues that may prevent rapid wound healing. For example, unhealthy tissue may need to be debrided  and/or exposed sutures may need to be removed to allow for unimpeded wound healing.

 Again, generally speaking, the vast majority of patients who experience these types of complications go on to heal without sequelae and without the need for immediate surgical intervention. Occasionally, scar revision surgery may be necessary in the longer term.

 I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 reviews

Large breast reduction wound

Your tissues look healthy and the red indicating that they are trying to heal. The size, however, means months of healing with dressing changes alone. You might consider having a skin graft to get the wound closed and then after months of settling consider a revision.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

May need another procedure

Thanks for your question and Pics. Sorry for your problems as I know this is frustrating for you and your surgeon. Without examining you it is hard to make an assessment of the wound. It does look healthy and "beefy red". If the surface area is too large to heal on its own you might consider a VAC or even a skin graft. The VAC can sometimes shrink the wound and expedite the healing. The skin graft will cover the wound and hopefully "take" . Best of Luck!

M. Scott Haydon, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

How long should it take for wound to stop spreading and start healing?

Sorry for you having one of the most serious post operative complication of wound dehiscence following reduction breast surgery. Aggressive wound care and daily visits at this stage are needed. Healing will take unto 4 months sorry again... 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.