Debridement of a Wound, Infection, or Burn

Debridement is the removal of unhealthy tissue from a wound to promote healing. It can be done by surgical, chemical, mechanical, or autolytic (using your body's own processes) removal of the tissue.

  • Call Your Doctor

    After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occur:

    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge at the wound site
    • Chalky white, blue, or black appearance to tissue around wound
    • If general anesthesia was used—cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, or severe nausea and/or vomiting
    • Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given

    In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    Debridement is the removal of unhealthy tissue from a wound to promote healing. It can be done by surgical, chemical, mechanical, or autolytic (using your body's own processes) removal of the tissue.

    Surgical Debridement of Lower Leg Wound
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  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure


    Debridement is used to clean dead and contaminated material from your wound to aid in healing. The procedure is most often done for the following reasons:

    • To remove tissue contaminated by bacteria, foreign tissue, dead cells, or crusting
    • To create a neat wound edge to decrease scarring

    • To aid in the healing of very severe
      burns
      or
      pressure sores
      (decubitus ulcers)
    • To get a sample of tissue for testing and diagnosis

  • Possible Complications


    Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are having a debridement, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

    • Pain
    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Delayed healing
    • Removal of healthy tissue with mechanical debridement


    Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

    • Infection
    • Pre-existing medical conditions
    • Smoking
    • Diabetes
    • Use of steroid or other immunosuppressive medicines
    • Poor nutrition
    • Poor circulation
    • Immune disorders