What is wound debridement?
When a doctor removes dead or unhealthy tissue from a wound, it's called debridement. Doctors do this to help a wound heal.
It's a good idea to remove dead tissue for a few reasons. First, dead tissue gives bacteria a place to grow. This can cause infection. Second, dead tissue can slow the growth of healthy tissue.
Your doctor will clean the wound. There are a few ways to remove the dead tissue, such as cutting it out or using an ointment.
If your wound is large, you may need a skin graft. This helps new tissue grow.
How long it takes your wound to heal depends on how serious it is. It also depends on whether you have other health problems that may slow healing. In some cases, people need to have a wound debrided again.
How do you prepare for the procedure?
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
Wound debridement may be done in a hospital or in a wound clinic. You may receive special instructions about your procedure.
Preparing for the procedure
If you will be having anesthesia or getting pain medicine, be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your procedure. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the procedure and how soon to do it.
If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your procedure. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance directive. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.
What happens on the day of the procedure?
Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your procedure may be canceled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of the procedure, take them with only a sip of water.
Take a bath or shower before you come in for your procedure. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
Take off all jewelry and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.
At the hospital or surgery center
Bring a picture ID.
You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
The procedure will take about 20 to 30 minutes. But it can take longer. It depends on how your doctor does the debridement. It also depends on where the wound is, how big it is, and how serious it is.
Current as of: August 2, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Margaret Doucette DO - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Wound Care, Hyperbaric Medicine