Woman wondering, "How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal?"

How Long Does It Take for Surgery Incisions to Heal?

How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal? On average, your body can heal itself in about two weeks. But everyone’s wounds are slightly different. So how do you know how long it will take you, specifically? 

Wound healing is the most underrated power the human body possesses. You don’t even need to flip a switch to activate this power; it just happens. The biological processes of collagen wound healing are nearly automatic. 

Collagen is the biggest building block in the wound healing process, and there is a great benefit to exploring the science of wound healing to understand the medical uses of collagen protein.

You may be currently recovering from an injury, or awaiting an upcoming surgery. Whatever the case, having an awareness of the amazing processes of your body can provide some clarity on how to fuel your body and potentially speed up recovery times.

This way, you’ll feel much better answering some big questions such as: “Can collagen supplements help wound healing?” and “What is the best collagen for wound healing?” to secure yourself the best collagen products.

The first step to understanding how long it takes for surgery incisions to heal is diving into your body’s natural wound-healing process. 

How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal?: The stages explained

Whether they take place in muscles, organs, or blood vessels, there are common repair processes across all soft tissue. Although healing is a continuous process, it can be divided into four basic stages. These stages of a healing wound are commonly referred to as:

Hemostasis: which starts immediately after an injury and helps stop bleeding.

Inflammation: which begins shortly after the wound is suffered, and assists in cleaning the wound.

Proliferation: which normally starts within days of the injury and encompasses the majority of the healing process and new tissue generation.

Remodeling: where scar tissue is smoothed out, which could last up to a year or more.

Stages of a healing wound

Source: Shield Healthcare

How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal through each phase? Let’s take a closer look.

Stage 1: Hemostasis

Your circulatory system is a vast transportation network for your body, and it’s key in how long it takes for surgery incisions to heal. 

Pumped by the heart, blood is oxygenated by the air you breathe in, and digested nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream to be transported wherever they are needed. 

A disruption to a blood vessel causes bleeding. The blood that was being pumped around you at pressure now escapes through an empty space. Blood is a vital resource, so once an injury is detected, the body acts quickly to stop any bleeding through coagulation. 

Coagulation protects the vascular system, keeping it intact so that the function of vital organs remains unharmed despite the injury. It also provides a supply matrix for cells that are needed in the later phases of healing. 

This coagulation process starts with the deposit of fibrin. Consider fibrin as a rapid-response groundwork at the site of the wound. This temporary patch will later be replaced and strengthened by collagen wound healing protein, as collagen has better strength and flexibility.

How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal through this first phase? Only a few minutes! The end result of coagulation is hemostasis, which means the bleeding has been stopped and the groundwork is set for collagen wound healing to begin. 

Stage 2: Inflammation

Although often considered an inconvenience, inflammation is a vital part of the healing process. How long it takes for surgery incisions to heal is, in part, determined by how effective your body is during this phase. 

Inflammation’s main function is to establish an immune barrier against invading microorganisms. The site must be cleared of any trespassers so that conditions are optimal for collagen wound healing.

The early stages of the inflammation phase overlap with the hemostasis phase. During this phase, your body sends cells called neutrophils to the site of the wound. Neutrophils prevent infection by destroying bacteria and damaged tissue around the site of the wound. 

Even though the risk of infection is now much lower thanks to successful coagulation and neutrophil activity, the immune system requests to have an ongoing presence at the site of the wound to prevent further threats. Therefore, macrophages are deployed. 

Macrophages are assigned the task of breaking down devitalized collagen and blocking future foreign microorganisms from the wound site.

How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal through the inflammation phase? That can depend on a few factors, including your medical history and any medications you may be taking. On average, this phase lasts about a week.

Stage 3: Proliferation

In the proliferation stage, your body forms an abundance of collagen-rich granulation tissue. This collagen wound-healing tissue is a much stronger and more permanent reconstructive seal than the previous network made up of fibrin. How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal? That depends almost entirely on how long you spend in this phase.

Collagen is a strong, fibrous protein created naturally by the human body by combining amino acids received from food or supplements. Collagen is found in ligaments, tendons, muscles, bones, skin, organs, and blood vessels. It’s a major building block used to build and repair the body from the moment you’re born. 

How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal enough for this to start? 

The proliferation phase starts with the arrival of fibroblasts, normally around 3 days after a wound is detected. The collagen wound healing process is done under the supervision of these fibroblasts. 

Fibroblasts are the construction workers of the new tissue building project. Among their materials are type I and type III procollagen, the building blocks of the restoration process. 

The wound granulation tissue that is created during the proliferation stage is thicker, rougher, and more disorganized than your normal tissue. Because of this, once the wound is filled in, it’s time to move onto the final stage of wound healing: remodeling. 

How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal through the proliferation phase? Your body will spend nearly a month here, carefully repairing and replacing the tissue that was damaged in the surgery.

Stage 4: Remodeling

By the time you’ve reached the remodeling phase, you’re usually not wondering “How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal?” This phase happens in the background, and you may not even notice it.

To return to normal bodily function, a wound needs to be able to withstand external pressures. Because of this, your body will gradually remodel the already filled-in wound layer by layer, with each step increasing the tensile strength of the tissue.

Although the initial deposit of collagen fibers is highly disorganized, during the remodeling stage, the new collagen matrix becomes more reinforced and cross-linked over time. 

The underlying connective tissue reduces in size and brings the outer borders of the wound closer together. The final product is a fully matured scar with a decreased number of cells and blood vessels and a high tensile strength.

Collagen fibers help your body tissue to return to approximately 80% of its original strength. Fueling your body with collagen is a great strategy to pass through each stage of wound healing healthily and maybe even reduce recovery time.

Collagen acts as the building block to stitch wounds back together, so it makes sense that your body would seek a constant supply of it during wound healing. This is especially true as you age since your body’s natural collagen production decreases each year after your mid-20s. 

How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal through this final phase? In some cases, your body can continue to strengthen and reinforce the site of the incision for up to two years. On the other end of the spectrum, you may only spend about a month in this phase.

Now that we have an idea of the role of collagen in the wound-healing process and how long it takes for surgery incisions to heal, let’s take a look at how doctors and scientists have used collagen to assist in healing. 

Collagen wound dressing for surgery incisions to heal

How doctors use collagen in wound healing

How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal? That can depend on the type of treatment you receive. Doctors use collagen for wound healing in a number of treatments, including pressure ulcer treatment and the treatment of burn victims. 

Here are just a few of the ways that doctors use collagen wound healing products to aid their patients:

Collagen for open wound treatment

Collagen has long been touted as a beneficial skin supplement - and the science backs it up. Several studies have found that oral collagen is effective for open wound treatment and positively impacts how long it takes for surgery incisions to heal. 

Taking an oral collagen supplement can also improve skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density. This means that your collagen wound healing supplement may also come with anti-aging benefits!  

Collagen wound healing after C-sections

Collagen can be used to improve wound healing following cesarean sections. It’s one of the best methods for how to heal deep wounds faster

A study of collagen wound healing for cesarean sections found that collagen can significantly improve how long it takes for surgery incisions to heal. This is great news for any expectant mothers and makes it worth talking with your OBGYN about collagen supplements.

Plus, there are many other benefits of collagen during pregnancy as well! 

Collagen wound healing dressings

Not all collagen wound healing is done with oral supplements. Collagen wound dressings are very effective as well. How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal? Part of the answer is in how the wound is dressed.

Studies have found that collagen dressings have greater efficacy for treating wounds than conventional dressing materials like silver sulfadiazine, nadifloxacin, or povidone-iodine. 

Collagen dressings may also help avoid the need for skin grafting, which is a big plus for some patients.  

Collagen biomaterials for wound healing

Doctors are using collagen to heal wounds in a number of forms. We’ve discussed oral collagen and collagen dressings, but medical practitioners have also found success with the use of natural collagen in sponges, injectables, films and membranes, dressings, and skin grafts. 

Remember, a big part of how long it takes for surgery incisions to heal is treatment! The success of collagen biomaterials shows promise for more collagen wound healing products in the future.

Collagen for healing chronic wounds

Sometimes, you run into the issue of a wound not healing. This is especially common in people with diabetes, circulation issues, and elderly patients – but there are many slow-healing wounds causes

How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal before they’re considered chronic? If your wound takes longer than two months to heal, it is considered chronic. 

Chronic wounds are susceptible to infections that can result in much more dangerous health conditions and even death if left untreated. Fortunately, collagen could be the answer to the swift healing of chronic wounds

In one study, 961 patients with chronic wounds were treated in 11 controlled trials. 485 of these patients had their wounds treated with collagen dressings, and the rest were treated with regular dressings. 

The patients with chronic wounds who were treated with collagen showed better and faster healing than those in the placebo groups. 

What is the best collagen for wound healing?

When looking for the best wound healing supplements, you want to search for collagen that is hydrolyzed or nano-hydrolyzed. This means the collagen protein has been broken down into smaller particles that are easier for your body to absorb.

You also want to ensure there are no additives like sugars or preservatives, so check the label carefully. 

It’s a good idea to find products that are backed by scientific studies and plenty of positive reviews. Medical-grade collagen is the best kind of supplement on the market since it’s regulated more strictly by the FDA and has to meet higher standards of quality control. 

How long it takes for surgery incisions to heal can vary depending on the person and the surgery, but everyone’s body uses collagen to build and repair tissue. 

Giving your body everything it needs – including plenty of rest, water, and the amino acids used to make collagen – is the best way to take advantage of your body’s natural healing power. 

Common questions about surgical wound healing

Usually, “How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal?” isn’t the only question people who are preparing for or recovering from surgery have. There are plenty of common questions and concerns about healing, including:

How long does it take for a surgical incision to heal internally?

Internal healing happens at roughly the same rate as external healing. Usually, your muscles will heal very slightly faster than your skin, since there’s more blood flowing through them. This allows your body to bring more of the cells it needs to heal and dispose of waste more quickly. 

How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal internally? The initial three phases should be complete in about 8 weeks after surgery, but be sure to follow up with your healthcare team for any specific questions or concerns. 

What helps surgical incisions heal faster?

How long it takes for surgery incisions to heal depends on a huge number of factors, including your medical history, age, medications, and any infections you may develop along the healing process. 

There are a few things you can do to heal faster, in addition to following your surgeon’s instructions for post-op care. These include: 

  • Keeping the incision site and dressings clean
  • Keeping your wound moist
  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Staying hydrated
  • Eating a well-balanced diet
  • Supplementing with oral collagen and/or using collagen dressings

What are the stages of surgical incision healing?

The stages of surgical incision healing are the same as the stages for any other wound: hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling. How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal through these? 

Generally, you can expect to wait about six to eight weeks before you feel “back to normal”, and your body will be in the remodeling phase for slightly longer.

How do you know if your incision is healing?

The signs of a healing wound can be slightly misleading at first. You can expect some itching and redness, as well as watery discharge for the first few days. These can be normal signs of a healing wound. 

How long it takes for surgery incisions to heal can depend on whether you get an infection, and it’s important to recognize these signs as soon as possible. Signs of an infected wound include: 

  • Yellow, green, cloudy, and/or bad-smelling discharge
  • Severe itching or pain that doesn’t fade after a couple of days
  • Fevers of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Red streaks coming from the wound
  • Weakness, exhaustion, and/or vomiting
ProT Gold liquid collagen protein for surgery incisions to heal

Can collagen supplements help wound healing?

There is no longer any ambiguity about collagen wound healing. Thanks to numerous studies we now know we can use collagen to heal wounds effectively. 

If you are dealing with wounds that won’t heal, or have a condition that is causing bone loss, a high-quality collagen supplement may be able to help. 

While it’s important to visit the doctor’s office for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, you can supplement with collagen from home any time to help your healing. How long does it take for surgery incisions to heal if you’re supplementing with collagen?

There’s no one answer to this since everyone heals at different paces. Collagen supplementation can speed healing by giving your body what it needs most, but it’s important to choose the right collagen wound healing supplements.