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PRIMARY VERSUS SECONDARY INTENTION HEALING

When an acute wound, such as one created by a surgical excision, is left to heal on its own, it is termed secondary (second) intention healing. Primary intention healing occurs when a surgeon directs closure of the wound by approximating the wound edges; the latter includes side-to-side closures, flaps and grafts. Even if the wound edges are approximated using a primary intention method, the wound still needs to proceed through the three phases of healing. In secondary intention healing, the time until re-epithelialization is complete is dependent on several factors. These include wound depth (superficial wounds heal faster), wound location (facial wounds heal faster than acral wounds) and geometric shape (given a particular area, the smallest diameter wound heals faster). For smaller wounds, primary versus secondary intention healing may produce similar cosmetic results, but as the wound becomes larger (≥8 mm), preferred cosmetic results occur …