Debridement and Wound Care: Important Terms to Know

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Collagenase: An enzymes that breaks the peptide bonds in collagen. Collagenases aid in destroying extracellular structures. Collagenase is one of the most frequently used enzymatic debridement agents.

Enzymatic debridement: A topical treatment that uses naturally occurring proteolytic enzymes or proteinases, which break down and remove devitalized tissue by digesting and dissolving this tissue in the wound bed.

Keratotic tissue: Keratotic tissue is the development of horny growths (keratomas). These growths can appear at the edges of wounds and hinder healing. They are removed by debridement to promote healing.

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Limb salvage program: A standard of care to address patients at risk of amputation. Limb salvage strategies include early detection, treatment, and prevention of diabetic foot ulcers.

Liquefactive necrosis: The death of tissue in which a yellow liquid layer accumulates, consisting of dead leukocytes. This type of necrosis is generally caused by bacterial, viral, parasitic, or fungal infections.

Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs): A group of enzymes that break down the extracellular matrix and delay healing. They are often found in excessive amounts in chronic wounds.

Offloading: Offloading is minimizing and removing weight placed on the surface such as the plantar foot or over a bony prominence such as the elbow to help prevent and heal wounds. This can be performed through means such as bed rest, crutches, wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, casts, splints, offloading wedges, and specialty shoes.

Proteinase: Proteinase may also be referred to as peptide or protease. Proteinases are enzymes that catalyze proteolysis, or the breakdown of proteins into smaller polypeptides or single amino acids.

Slough: Devitalized tissue containing white blood cells and wound debris. It can appear yellow or white, soft or leathery, and thick or thin. Slough must be removed to facilitate healing.

Surgical/sharp debridement: The removal of devitalized tissue by a skilled clinical practitioner using surgical instruments, such as a scalpel or curette. Sharp debridement is often the preferred method in treating diabetic foot ulcers.

May is Debridement and Chronic Wounds Month

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

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