The Intention? To Heal

Healing by Primary Intention:

Healing by primary intention occurs when wound edges are apposed, brought together and held by means of sutures, adhesive strips or staples. This allows the wound to heal and close until it once again gains the integrity to be able to withstand the forces resulting from activities of daily living without support.

 The goal of surgery is to achieve healing by such means with:

  •  minimal edema
  • no serous discharge or infection
  • without separation of the wound edges
  • with minimal scar formation

Example: wound closure suture method

Healing by Seconday Intention:

Healing by secondary intention occurs when the wound is left open.

This may occur due to:

  • the presence of infection
  • excessive trauma
  • skin loss

The wound edges will come together naturally with cell growth and contracture.

Gottrub, Finn, Hollander, Dirk, A and Melling, Andrew. 2005. Anoverview of surgical site infections: aetiology, incidence and risk factors. World Wide Wounds Retrieved July 7, 2009 from


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