Updated: May 23
When incisions go dark it is always a cause for concern.
It can be a sign of ischemia or lack of blood flow. If ischemia is not addressed the result will be tissue death known as necrosis. Necrotic tissue is a common complication of surgery where capillary blood flow is compromised.
For surgical sites, it may be a few days or weeks before soft tissue infection, ischemia and/or necrosis become apparent. Keep a close eye out on an incision line that continues to darken to purple and black and the area progressively splitting open.
You may be at a higher risk for necrosis if:
A large amount of skin was removed
Incisions are under a lot of tension
A high BMI. 30 and over will be at a higher risk for complications. See this free BMI calculator
Having Co-morbidities like Diabetes and circulatory issues like PVD, CAD
You are a smoker
What should you do if your incision is turning necrotic?
#1 Contact your doctor. Take a clear picture as they will want to see it.
#2 Get all the excessive pressure off! Compression garments can help to improve lymphatic flow and prevent excessive swelling but early in recovery a garment that is too tight, folding or cutting off circulation can be determental.
#3 Make sure blood sugar is optimized. High blood sugar affects healing skin and blood flow.
#4 Stop smoking. Smoking cause vasocontraction which also restricts blood flow.
#5 Add an Arginine supplement. Arginine is an amino acid that convert to nitric oxide that helps to open blood vessels and support blood flow. Here is an example to try
#6 Consider trying HBOT. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments. Locations are popping up all over. It is an expensive and time consuming process but may be worth investigating.
Google "HBOT near me" and give them a call
#7 Get moving. You can not heal if blood is not flowing. Light exercise can be key to improving lymphatic and blood flow to support healing. If you are uncertain of how to start check out the home plan that includes nutrition, early movement and a personal video consult.
You can not heal a wound if blood is not flowing!
If you need support and do not have a wound specialist you can contact, Let's chat!