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Reaction to an Incision Closed With Staples

By Natalie Stein ; Updated August 14, 2017

Even when a surgical procedure goes smoothly, you are still at risk for complications until you have healed completely. Staples to close an incision can cause allergic reaction or lead to infections. To prevent harmful reactions, tell your surgeon about any known allergies, and seek medical advice if you suspect that you are having abnormal symptoms after your surgery.

Background

Staples hold skin together to close incisions, prevent bleeding and allow your wound to heal properly. You may require staples to close incisions after you undergo surgery, such as a bone graft procedure, removal of a tumor or vein ligation. Your doctor may also use staples to close an incision after you cut yourself in an accident. In some cases, staples can replace sutures, or surgical stitches, to close incisions. Close monitoring of your wound can lead to early detection of a reaction to your staples so that you can get treatment.

Allergic Reactions

An allergic reaction occurs when a substance triggers an immune response, according to MayoClinic.com. The staples used to close your incision could cause a reaction if you are allergic to their material. For example, many staples are made from titanium, which is a strong and lightweight metal alloy, according to the International Titanium Association. However, titanium can include nickel, which is a known allergen. Symptoms of allergic reactions to nickel may include itching, red skin and a rash. Dental work and medical implants may also contain titanium.

Infections

Staples help hold your incision closed and keep it clean, but you can still get an infection before your wound is fully healed. You can reduce your risk of infections by keeping the incision area clean. According to MedlinePlus, symptoms of infections include redness, swelling and throbbing pain. If you get an infection in an incision closed with staples, a topical antibacterial ointment may prevent complications. Antibiotics can treat some surface infections, according to MayoClinic.com. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking antiobiotics.

Considerations

You can lower your risk for complications after surgery by following your surgeon’s instructions. You may need to keep the incision area dry or refrain from placing too much pressure on the area. If you do have a reaction to your staples, get medical help as soon as possible. A nickel allergy may require corticosteroid treatment, according to MayoClinic.com. Untreated infections can spread and lead to complications such as organ failure or infections in your bloodstream.

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