Evisceration: Definition & Treatment

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  • 0:03 Evisceration Definition
  • 2:00 Evisceration Treatment Options
  • 2:37 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Danielle Haak

Danielle has a PhD in Natural Resource Sciences and a MSc in Biological Sciences

Evisceration is a medical term for organs being outside of the body. Learn more about why this might happen, how to prevent it, and how to properly treat it.

Evisceration Definition

If you're like me, you've probably heard the word 'eviscerate' used in conversation, but what does it mean, medically speaking? Evisceration is the physical removal of internal organs from the body cavity, whether they are completely removed or still attached but outside of the body. Usually it refers to organs found in the abdominal cavity, such as the stomach or intestines, but can be used to refer to other parts of the body as well, such as the eyes.

In humans, evisceration usually applies to surgical scenarios. Organs may be moved outside of the body during surgery to allow the surgeon to access hard-to-reach areas, or it may occur after surgery if the incision site opens. With animals, evisceration could be part of the field-dressing process or could occur after an injury. Minor evisceration conditions are when the internal organs are visible or sticking out of the body through an incision (rather than fully removed). In any case, evisceration is a serious condition that should be treated as an emergency.

In some situations, a surgical incision may open during the recovery process, allowing organs to be visible or even spill out of the body. This is obviously a serious medical condition that should be treated as soon as possible. Now I know it might be hard - what with how gross this can be - but let's imagine for a moment that you're someone recovering after surgery. To prevent evisceration, you'd have to follow a few key rules.

First, you'd need to apply slight pressure to the incision site before you do things that may cause extra force around the site; these can include sneezing, coughing, or laughing. Second, you'd have to prevent constipation (a common side effect after surgery) by using laxatives if necessary, and drinking plenty of water and eating wholesome foods. Third, you'd have to avoid lifting heavy objects until the incision site is completely healed. Straining the area can cause the wound to open, leading to evisceration.

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