Autolytic Debridement

Necrotic, a harmful dead tissue on wounds facilitates an ideal growth medium for bacteria. This causes inflammation that strains the body’s ability to fight infection. Hence, the wounds take longer to close and heal.


What is Autolytic Debridement

Generally, Debridement is the process of removing the dead necrotic or tissues that occur in the wounds. Debridement facilitates a better healing process in a variety of ways. First, the necrotic prevents the growth of new healthy tissues. This makes the affected areas more susceptible to infections. Worse still, the necrotic hides any potential signs of infection. Unless removed, the dead tissues will increase odor and exudate, facilitating a better thriving environment for bacteria and other harmful organisms.

Perhaps you’re wondering, can digging a wound really facilitate a speedy healing? Well, although it sounds counter-intuitive, it’s true. Removing the dead tissues actually, help speed up the healing process. The process is basically ‘out with the old and in with the new’ kind of a thing. By eliminating the necrotic, one enables the regenerative powers of the skin to focus on quickly lay down a new layer of skin. Just like a road, when an old road is full of potholes and cracks, the best way to achieve a smooth road is by ripping up the old road and putting up a new foundation and asphalt work.

Debridement is also important in treating pockets of pus known as abscesses. Abscesses develop into an infection that invades the bloodstream. This brings about amputation or even death. Keep in mind that burned tissues or those exposed to corrosive substances from a hard black crust called eschar. However, the inner tissues remain moist, soft, flimsy, and inflamed. Hence, eschar also requires debridement to promote healing. Generally, there are four debridement techniques used as elaborated below.

How does Debridement work?

Sometimes, debridement can naturally occur, thanks to the ability of the body to shed off dead tissues. However, more often, debridement requires a medical procedure, the four major debridement techniques include Autolytic, surgical, chemical, and mechanical debridement.

Autolytic Debridement

Generally, lytic means self-induced or ruptured. Therefore, Autolytic debridement translates to allowing the body to clean up the dead tissues in the wound. Autolytic debridement utilizes the ability of the body to dissolve its dead tissues. The key to achieving this technique is basically keeping the wound moist. Well, this is done through a number of dressings. The dressing is meant to help the wound, trap fluids that contain enzymes, growth factors, and immune cells which promote wound healing.

Although autolytic debridement is more selective than any other debridement method, it takes longer to work. Hence, Autolytic debridement may not be suitable for wounds that have been infected.

Quick Tips to Dressing for Autolytic Debridement

Perhaps you’re planning to choose an autolytic debridement dressing. That’s alright. How about considering the following quick tips?

1. The wound's appearance: It is important to assess the physical condition of the wound first. You ought to consider the kind of tissues exposed, the exudate volume, among others. If the wound is also being packed, you might want to know how many dressings it can soak.
2. The wound's depth: The dressing ought to match the depth of that wound. If your wound is shallow, you can opt for a transparent film or even a hydrocolloid dressing. However, you cannot use a transparent
dressing for wounds with cavities that are deep. Instead, you can opt for an alginate dressing or a foam. The cavities of the deep wound ought to be filled with a product that has absorbing properties. In both dressing cases, you need to place an outer dressing that can remain on the wound until the next scheduled dressing.
3. Inspect the state of the peri-wound skin: What is the condition of the skin near the wound? Is it macerated? Of course, the condition of the skin affects the type of dressing to be used. Some people have skin that's quite sensitive to tapes which may need changing very often. One can also use a strip of hydrocolloid dressing in order to create a window around the wound. Hence, a tape can safely be applied
on the strip rather than the skin.

The advantages of using Autolytic Debridement includes:

  • No damage to the skin surrounding the wound
  • The process is quite safe since body natural processes are used
  • to eliminate the dead tissues
  • Autolytic Debridement is quite safe to perform
  • The debridement is very effective
  • The patient does not experience pain.

What are some of the Quality products to use for Wound Debridement?

For thousands of years, honey has proven to be quite helpful when taking care of wounds. Honey is an excellent topical antimicrobial agent and works by getting rid of unwanted bacteria. In addition, honey reduces the inflammation of a wound which stunts the treatment process. Hence, you might want to consider using the honey sheet dressing to combat infectious bacteria and at the same time produce lymphatic flow to the devitalized tissues.

Another excellent dressing that favors the autolytic debridement is the Alginate dressing. Of course, one thing many people experience during the debridement is exudation; discharging of excess cells during inflammatory stages. The best bandage to absorb these unwanted substances is the alginate dressing. An alginate dressing can soak up to 20 times its own weight. An alginate dressing is excellent to maintain a moist wound environment to facilitate sufficient healing and tissue re-growth.

Alternatively, one can effectively use the waxy coating for maximum seal capabilities. An occlusive dressing works well with wounds that are open and has excess dead tissues. The occlusive dressing also enhances the healing qualities of creams and ointments due to their tight airlock pressure.

When does a wound require debridement?

Well, not all wounds might need debridement. Acute wounds do not require the removal of dead tissue. However, if you’re suffering a chronic wound such as pressure or leg ulcers, you might need to remove the necrotic tissue removed. However, it is important to seek comprehensive assessment by a qualified clinical officer. What’s more, factors such as the general health of the patient, the size, and the location of the wound can also affect whether the procedure is necessary.