Frequent debridement encourages rapid wound healing, researchers find

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Debridement appears to dramatically speed up the wound healing process, according to recently published research.

The researchers looked at data from nearly 155,000 patients treated at a wound care center between 2008-2012. They say this is the “largest wound data set” ever analyzed for this type of study.

On average, wounds were cleaned twice through debridement, which is the removal of necrotic tissue and other foreign substances. Wounds that were debrided more frequently generally healed faster, and much faster in the cases of certain types of wounds, the researchers discovered. 

Diabetic foot ulcers that were cleaned at least weekly healed in an average of 21 days, compared with 76 days for wounds debrided only once every two weeks or more, the researchers found. On average, traumatic wounds healed in two weeks with frequent debridement and in 49 days if they were cleaned less often.

It's possible that study subjects who received more frequent debridement were also more diligent about caring for their wounds in other ways, the researchers acknowledged. However, their results support more frequent debridement, they said. 

The research team was led by James R. Wilcox, R.N., who works for Healogics. The company runs wound care centers.

The report was published online in JAMA Dermatology on July 24.