abdominal, chronic, dehiscence, sternum, surgery, wound healing



  1. Bundele, Varsha MBBS, MS, MCh
  2. Aggarwal, Neha MDS, FCCS
  3. Bana, Ajeet MBBS, MS, MCh


ABSTRACT: The authors report the case of a patient who presented with a nonhealing sternal wound 3 months after cardiac bypass surgery. The patient was treated with vacuum-assisted closure, surgical debridement, and IV antibiotics. Despite repeated flap closure procedures, a top closure device, and wound dressings, the patient developed an infection, and the wound size increased from 8 x 10 cm to 20 x 20 cm, advancing from the sternal to upper abdominal region. This wound was then treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy and nonmedicated dressings until the patient was eligible to receive a split-thickness skin graft 1.5 years after initial presentation.


The main takeaway from this case was that local and systemic factors affected the outcome of each surgical closure. The failure of each preceding treatment choice that led to further increases in size and area of the wound was the main challenge. Eliminating infection, preventing development of new infection, and managing the local and systemic factors before any definite surgery are key to the eventual wound closure.