Debridement refers to the removal of dead tissue or debris.

In a previous post, we detailed a number of wound care terms that are important for patients to better understand. Learning these concepts, and even how to use them in the proper context, means that patients take a more hands-on approach to their healing regimen. To further your wound healing know-how, here are eight more terms worth remembering:

Abscess:

With this specific kind of wound, fluid has built up in the tissue due to an infection, be it chronic or acute. An abscess is usually accompanied by swelling and some redness.

Biofilm:

As a general rule, biofilms are a bad thing in most wound care regimens. That’s because biofilms are collections of microbial cells that attach themselves to the exterior of a wound. That prevents the wound itself from healing properly, and the longer a biofilm remains in place, the harder it can be to remove.

Cellulitis:

Another kind of infection, cellulitis is often localized to one specific part of the body. Most of the time, it’s the result of a staph infection, a strain of bacteria that’s well known for being antibiotic-resistant. Signs of cellulitis include tenderness and redness.

Debridement:

During the debridement process, debris is removed from a wound site to facilitate more effective healing. There are several kinds of debridement that doctors employ. While some forms may cut out debris with a scalpel or scissors, other procedures involve the use of enzymes or chemicals.

Gram stain:

This is the test that doctors use to identify any bacterial strains present in a wound. A sample from the wound is taken and then placed in an iodine solution, which is then stained with a a triphenylmethane dye. The resulting color tells doctors the infection type and sometimes even the level of severity.

Inflammation:

The result of the body’s reaction to infection, inflammation occurs any time tissue becomes agitated. That agitation can result in red blotches, swollen tissue or even radiating warmth from the affected area. Inflammation can happen both inside the body and specific tissue structures.

Pressure ulcer:

More commonly referred to as a bed sore, these ulcers are often the result of prolonged exposure to a surface, much like hospital bedding. Ulcers are classified by one of four stages, and each one describes aspects like temperature, level of pain and the feeling or consistency of the ulcer.

Unstageable pressure ulcer:

While most wounds are ranked between stages one and four, the slough or eschar on these wounds make classification quite complicated. And because they aren’t easily staged, these ulcers are often notoriously hard to treat or manage.

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