Debridement is essential to prepare the wound area to promote speedy and efficient healing. Dead tissue can be harmful to the body’s ability to recover and develop new skin, so debridement may be necessary to remove that dead material.

  • Wounds can heal faster if dead tissue is removed.
  • Removing dead tissue on a regular basis keeps the wound area clean and helps to prevent bacteria that may lead to infections or bad odor.
  • Dead tissue can hide pockets of pus that can develop into an infection, which can prevent wounds from healing and cause life-threatening illness or even amputation.

Types of debridement

There are a few ways that dead tissue can be removed from your wound. Your doctor may use one or even more than one way to remove the dead tissue:

1. Sharp debridement: This may be done every week. It will keep the wound clean. It will help your wound to heal faster. The dead tissue will be removed with a sharp instrument. A dressing is then applied. It is to help control bleeding. Sometimes a sharp debridement may need to be done in the operating room.

2. Autolytic debridement: This does not cause pain. A moist wound dressing is used with your body's ability to break down dead tissue. This may be used between visits. When it is used your doctor may not have to do aggressive sharp debridement during your visit.

3. Enzymatic debridement: Sometimes called chemical debridement. A medication is used to break down the dead tissue in your wound. It can be used with sharp debridement.

4. Mechanical debridement: Whirlpool, pulse lavage or wet to dry saline dressings are used to remove dead tissue. It can also hurt healthy and new tissue. This is not used much.

Do I need debridement?

Not all wounds require debridement. Your doctor will talk to you about options for debridement, the specific procedures to be used, and the recovery process.