The general incidence of disruption of wounds has been estimated to be from 1.5 to 2 per cent following abdominal operations.1 Over 1,400 cases of such disruption have been recorded.2 Since approximately 35 per cent of patients suffering such disruption of wounds die,3 it can be seen that this complication presents a major surgical problem and accounts for a considerable number of postoperative deaths. The increased morbidity which attends breakdown or delayed healing of wounds is obvious. Not only is the time of hospitalization and of recovery greatly prolonged, but the incidence of postoperative hernia is greatly increased.
In order to understand the mechanism of dehiscence of wounds it is necessary to understand the processes which normally occur to bring about the healing of surgical wounds. The reader is referred to the excellent review article of Arey4 and to the papers of Carrel,5 Harvey,6