Surgeons use a variety of tools for debridement.

If you’re living with a wound, your wound care process is likely to include debridement at some point. Let’s take a look at what this procedure means and why it is performed so you can be prepared for it and feel good about it, even if it is slightly anxiety-provoking.

What is wound debridement?

Debriding a wound means removing anything that is making it unclean or blocking blood supply to it. This might include dead tissue, scar tissue, fluid buildup and debris, all of which must be absent for your wound healing process to go well. If your wound isn’t debrided, it could heal very slowly or simply not heal at all, so it’s an important procedure to undergo. There are several ways to debride a wound, up to and including surgery.

What should your provider know?

Before your wound is debrided, let your provider know about every medication you are taking, any allergies you have, surgeries, blood disorders and other health complications such as diabetes. This will help your medical professional determine the best type of debridement for your needs and address any issues that may arise during or after the procedure.

You should know about the possible complications of debridement, which can include extensive bleeding and pain. Generally, the procedure is a very safe one, but it’s good to look out for issues like infection or a slowed or stopped healing process. You should always speak to your provider if you feel anxious about the upcoming procedure so he or she can calm your fears and address any special needs you might have. For instance, you may need a sedative if you are very anxious, or you might benefit from an explanation of why your wound needs debridement and how it will help with the healing process.

What kinds of debridement are there?

Surgical debridement may involve general anaesthesia or a local version to make sure you cannot feel your wound. You may also receive a sedative. Then, the wound will be cleaned and scissors, scalpels and other equipment will be used to take out dead tissue and other debris. The surgeon will then wash and dress your wound.

For mechanical debridement, you’ll stay awake and aware, and you may experience water techniques to flush the wound or a dressing that lifts off dead tissue. Chemical debridement involves a medicine that dissolves dead tissue, and autolytic debridement involves a special dressing.

After the procedure

After your debridement, you’ll be sent home when your provider determines you are ready. Once there, you’ll need to take care of yourself. This can mean administering medicine for the pain if you have any, for instance. It will also entail dressing and cleaning the wound yourself to make sure it stays healthy. Make sure you also schedule a follow-up appointment so a medical professional can assess how your wound is healing after the procedure.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients.