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What is wound debridement?

Debridement is the removal of dead tissue from a wound to expose healthy, living tissue. The removed tissue may sometimes also be infected.

This procedure is an important step in the treatment of wounds, since healing cannot take place with dead tissue present in the wound.

 

There are four main types of debridement:

Autolytic

What it is: Dressings are used to provide the correct amount of moisture to a wound, helping the body to soften and liquefy dead tissue. Wound dressings used include hydrocolloids, hydrogels and transparent films.

When it’s used: Any wound that is not infected and has a good blood supply.

 

Chemical

What it is: An enzyme is applied to the wounded area and breaks down dead tissue, which is then removed from the wound. This is also called enzymatic debridement.

When it’s used: Any amount of dead tissue.

 

Mechanical

What it is: This method of debridement involves placing a moist dressing on the wound and then removing the dressing – and the dead tissue with it – once the dressing becomes dry.

When it’s used: Moderate amounts of dead tissue.

 

Surgical

What it is: Using a sharp instrument or laser to remove dead tissue.

When it’s used: Most common in cases involving a large amount of dead or infected tissue.

 

Related articles:
Pressure ulcer wound stages & dressings
Wound care 101
What are chronic wounds
 
SOURCES
www.medicaledu.com/debridhp.htm
www.aafp.org/afp/2008/1115/p1186.html