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post-operative wound drainage

As health care professionals monitor the wound drainage of a patient, it is critical to be able to recognize the different types of wound drainage. Open wounds and incision wounds may both present varying types of exudate, some of which are perfectly healthy and others which can signal an infection or slow healing. Identifying wounds that need a change in care can speed the healing process. Here are the four main types of wound drainage health care professionals need to know.

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tunneling wound assessment

Perhaps the most difficult type of wound for health care professionals to treat is a tunneling wound. Tunneling wounds are named for the channels which extend from the wound, into or through subcutaneous tissue or muscle. These tunnels sometimes take twists or turns that can make wound care complicated. Tunneling is often the result of infection, previous abscess formation, sedentary lifestyle, previous surgery at the site, trauma to the wound or surrounding tissue, or the impact of pressure and shear forces upon many tissue layers causing a “sinkhole-like” defect on the skin. Tunneling wounds need careful wound assessment and management.

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diabetic foot ulcer treatment

Estimates are that by 2030 there will be 550 million individuals with diabetes in the world. Because almost a quarter of all people with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer at some point, health care workers need to know the best practices for diabetic foot ulcer prevention and treatment.

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venous system

A venous ulcer, also known as a stasis ulcer or venous leg ulcer, is a shallow wound that usually occurs on the sides of the lower leg, between the calf and ankle. Since venous ulcers often are slow in healing and frequently recur if not properly treated, it is important for health care providers to understand their diagnosis and treatment.

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Surgical wound drainage

In normal wound healing, exudate plays an important role in allowing the migration of cells across the wound bed, facilitating the distribution of growth and immune factors vital to healing. Managing wound drainage involves making sure that exudate production is not too much or too little, and making sure the exudate does not have pus which would indicate an infection. Proper wound drainage management improves the patient's quality of life, promotes healing, and enhances health care effectiveness.

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healing with alginate dressing

What is an Alginate Dressing?

Biodegradable alginate dressings made from seaweed date back at least fifty years and commercially available alginate has been available since 1983. Often used on wounds with heavy exudate, the alginates used to produce these dressings are made from a variety of seaweeds harvested around the world. Arguably underused, these dressings are not well studied and documented in the medical literature compared to other modern dressings.

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wound healing

The Wound Healing Process

Promoting the wound healing process is a primary responsibility for most health care practitioners. It can take 1-3 days for a closed wound to actually establish a seal. Infections usually occur in 3-6 days but may not appear for up to 30 days, according to the CDC guidelines for preventing surgical infections.

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wound care slide presentation

by Jeanne Cunningham, Founder of WoundSource

After seeing about 100 pictures of wounds, I was beginning to feel sick. The year was 1985 and there I was, a recent college graduate in my 20s, sitting in a cramped office at the Crozer Chester Medical Center in Chester, PA, watching slide after slide of feet, elbows, legs, bottoms, in fact, every part of the human body with open, colorful wounds.

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WoundSource 2017

by Miranda Henry, Editorial Director of WoundSource

Twenty years ago, WoundSource™ became the first-ever comprehensive wound care reference guide for clinicians. It contained just nine product categories and did not yet include such innovations as hand-held wound assessment systems and cellular-based wound treatments, which have now become a part of standard wound management practice.

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In celebrating the 20th anniversary of WoundSource, we would like to acknowledge the support of our readership. The WoundSource Reader Profile Series shares the stories behind our readers and how WoundSource currently impacts their wound care practices.

Karen Zulkowski, DNS, RN

Wound Course Instructor, Excelsior College
Executive Editor, JWCET
Associate Professor at Montana State University-Bozeman & Wound Care Researcher (Retired)

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