When you injure your skin, your body works its magic to return the affected area back to full form. It goes through stages of wound healing, which can be supported by dressing changes and antibiotics to prevent infections. However, in the event that complications do occur, the wounded area may revert to a previous stage of healing before getting back on track toward complete recovery.

These are the four stages of wound healing:

patient with wounded armWounds progress through four stages of healing before reaching full recovery.

1. Hemostasis

The body’s first response to injury is to stop the bleeding. Hemostasis is the process of blood clotting as platelets reach the wound site to start blocking the drainage. According to Biodermis, hemostasis can last for two or more days depending on the severity of the wound, but covering the affected area with a bandage can facilitate the process.

2. Inflammation

Once hemostasis is achieved, the second phase of wound healing causes localized swelling to continue controlling the bleeding as well as prevent infection. White blood cells, referred to as exudate in wound healing, are responsible for the inflammation, characterized by swelling, redness and warmth at the wound site. Wound Source noted that inflammation is an entirely natural occurrence in proper wound healing, and is only cause for concern if it lasts for an excessive amount of time.

3. Proliferation

The third stage of wound healing involves the formation of new tissue, which is usually pink or red in color when it first covers the wounded area. If necessary, the body may also create a new network of blood vessels to ensure the fresh tissue receives the necessary amounts of oxygen and nutrients. According to Shield HealthCare, there are three distinct phases within the proliferation stage:

  1. Wound bed fills with new tissue and blood vessels.
  2. Edges of the wound begin to contract toward the center of the affected area.
  3. Epithelial cells work to cover and close the wound.

It can take the body anywhere from four days to more than three weeks to complete these three phases of proliferation.

4. Maturation

The final stage of healing is the remodeling phase when the wound becomes fully closed. This process can begin as soon as three weeks after the injury and can continue for a year or more, according to Wound Source.

In the event that you are wounded, talk to your doctor about smartPAC by Advanced Tissue for smart delivery of the wound care products your treatment requires. With single-dose packaging and video tutorials, smartPAC makes it easy to change dressings properly and progress through the stages of wound healing without complications.