Achieving Closure: Factors That Lead to Wound Healing Protection Status
Blog Category: 
Achieving Closure

By the WoundSource Editors

Wound healing is a highly complex chain of events that allows the skin to repair and regenerate to provide protective functions, such as temperature modulation, and moisture regulation, as well as sensation reception and transmission.1

Although very complex processes occur if a wound is going to heal, we generally recognize four phases that wounds progress through to achieve complete closure2:

  • Homeostatic phase: Platelets aggregate, and clotting factors form a fibrin clot to create a protective layer over the wound.
  • Inflammatory phase: The wound swells as damaged cells, pathogens, and bacteria are removed.
  • Proliferative phase: Granulation occurs, and new tissue is rebuilt within the wound.
  • Remodeling phase: The wound is fully closed, but collagen fibers are rearranged through cross-linking to improve tensile strength and reduce the scar’s appearance.

For this process to occur successfully, certain molecular requirements must be met. Poor oxygenation is a recognized cause of delayed healing. Oxygen is central to many levels of wound healing, including collagen synthesis. Nutrition, including the availability of proper protein stores and specific vitamins and minerals— such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and zinc, is also crucial. These nutrients are necessary for the process of cross-linking, reducing oxidative stress, reducing susceptibility to wound infection, and for proper DNA and RNA synthesis.1

How much do you know about debridement and chronic wounds? Take our 10-question quiz to find out! Click here.


These molecular requirements can often be negatively impacted by the presence of necrotic or non-viable tissue. The delivery mechanisms for oxygen and nutrients are interrupted. Debridement may be deemed a necessary intervention for converting a chronic wound to an active, healing wound. When the necrotic tissue is removed, the wound can be returned to an acute status, and the healing process can move forward.

There are several specific ways in which debridement promotes the healthy progression of wounds through the healing process. During the inflammatory phase of healing, neutrophils provide interleukin, which is a stimulus for the proliferation of keratinocytes.1 Keratinocytes are integral to the entire wound healing process and are involved in the initiation, maintenance, and completion of wound healing.3

Keratinocytes within non-healing wounds and at their healing edges are often different from normal, healthy keratinocytes. Yet, the healthy communication that occurs between healthy keratinocytes and other cell types, including fibroblasts, is integral to healing and essential for successful wound closure. Keratinocytes recruit, stimulate, and coordinate the actions of multiple cell types that are crucial in the healing process.4

The proliferative phase of healing is marked by the presence of processes such as angiogenesis, extracellular matrix formation, and epithelialization. Platelet-derived growth factor can promote proteoglycan and collagen formation. The local fibroblasts respond to platelet-derived growth factor by producing collagen and transforming into myofibroblasts, which cause the wound to contract.5

The foundation for the biological argument for debridement is related to these processes. By removing the unhealthy cells from the wound edge and exposing them to healthy cells with high regenerative potential, epithelialization and healing of chronic wounds are enhanced.3

When this necrotic tissue is removed, the wound can access and utilize the regenerative potential of surrounding, healthy tissue. For this reason, preservation of the bordering viable tissue is crucial, especially when there is limited adjacent tissue. After the non-viable tissue has been removed, the wound can transition to a granulating wound. These strategies work to support the complex processes throughout the four stages of healing to achieve closure more successfully.

May Practice Accelerator blog CTA

1. Childs DR, Murphy AS. Overview of wound healing and management. Surg Clin North Am. 2017;97:189-207.
2. What are the stages of wound healing? Advanced Tissue. 2018. Accessed March 27, 2020.
3. Pastar I, Stojadinovic O, Tomic-Canic M. The role of keratinocytes in healing chronic wounds. Surg Technol Int. 2008;17:105-112.
4. Wojtowict AM, Oliveira S, Carlson MW, Zawadzka A, Rousseau CF, Baksh D. The importance of both fibroblasts and keratinocytes in a bilayered living cellular construct used in wound healing. Wound Repair Regen. 2014;22(2):246-255.
5. Reinke JM, Sorg H. Wound repair and regeneration. Eur Surg Res. 2012;49:35-43.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.

Recommended for You

  • June 30th, 2021

    Patient education should be a priority to empower patients to care for themselves and improve patient outcomes. Involving patients in their own care can help them to understand about their wound and be more adherent to the overall treatment plan. Remember to involve the caregiver or family if...

  • Patient Education and Wound Cleansing
    February 27th, 2020

    By Margaret Heale, RN, MSc, CWOCN

    As patient-driven groupings model hits home care, patients or their caregivers will be expected to do more of the care. Subsequently, nursing staff are expected to provide more education, making "how to" information more crucial than ever.

  • September 1st, 2021

    By Steven A. Kahn, MD

    When treating severe burns, surgeons generally consider eschar removal to be the major factor and the top challenge in both initiating and planning for the optimal course of treatment for each patient. Before grafting, all devitalized tissue must be removed...

Important Notice: The contents of the website such as text, graphics, images, and other materials contained on the website ("Content") are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content is not intended to substitute manufacturer instructions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or product usage. Refer to the Legal Notice for express terms of use.