wound healing and wound closure

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Post on 10-Apr-2016




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PHASES OF WOUND HEALINGThe wound healing process is a dynamic process which can be divided into three phases and its not linear and often wounds can progress both forwards and back through the phases depending upon various factors such as infection, or other causes of wound chronicity.The phases of wound healing are inflammatory phase, proliferation phase and maturation phase. Thefirst phaseis the bodys natural response to injury. After initial injury, the blood vessels there will contract and a clot is formed to achieve hemostasis. Then, dilation of blood vessels will occur to allow cytokines, antibodies, white blood cells,growth factors, enzymes and nutrients to reach the area. Release of vasoactive substances from stromal mast cells will make small vessels permeable to molecular and cellular mediators of the inflammatory response. It is at this stage that signs of inflammation can be seen (erythema, heat, edema, pain). Chemotaxis results in migration and concentration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes that digest bacteria, foreign debris, and necrotic tissue with lysosomal enzymes.Then, in the second phase, the injured area is reconstructed with new granulation tissues consisting of collagen and extracellular matrix, into which angiogenesis develop. The color and condition of the granulation tissue can be the indicator of how the wound is healing. Dark granulation tissue can mean poor perfusion, ischemia or infection at the wound site. Healthy granulation tissue is pink/ red in colour, and doesnt bleed easily. To achieve this, it is important that the fibroblasts receive adequate oxygen and nutrient supply from the vessels. Third phase will occur after the wound has closed and comprises of remodeling of collagen (type 3, type 1 predominate in skin and aponeurosis). Both number of blood vessels and cellular activity will decrease in this phase. Approximately 80 percent of the original strength of the tissue is obtained by six weeks after surgery, but the diameter and morphology of collagen fibers do not have the appearance of normal skin until about 180 days.


(a) Healing by first intention/1o union Clean or uninfected wound , surgically incised Without much loss from cells/tissue wound edges approximated by surgical sutures Sequence:

initial hemorrhage (blood clots seals wound against dehydration + infection) acute inflammatory response epithelial changes (basal cells proliferate + migrate towards incisional space, forms scab - separate viable dermis & necrotic material, multilayered new epidermis formed (Day 5) organization (fibroblasts invade on Day 3, collagen fibrils form on Day 5 until healing, scar tissue with scanty cellular and vascular elements are formed in Week 4)

(b) Healing by second intention/2o union

open with large tissue defect (+/- infection) extensive loss of cells/tissues wound not approximated by surgical suture, but left open Sequence:Initial hemorrhage inflammatory phase epithelial changes granulation tissues (main healing process - mature scar is pale and white due to more collagen, less vascularity, hair follicles/sweat glands NOT replaced) wound contraction (myofibroblasts contract wound to 1/3 or 1/4 of original size)

Presence of infection- Bacterial contamination delays the process of healing due to release of bacterial toxins that provoke necrosis, suppuration and thrombosis. - Surgical removal of dead and necrosed tissue, (debridement) helps in this condition.

Difference in sequence: 2o union has larger tissue defect, slower, ugly scar formed, more inflammation + granulation tissue + scarring wound contraction only in 2o union

Difference in overallPrimary UnionSecondary Union


Usually not infected+/- infection

Margins surgical cleanIrregular margin

Sutures usedSutures not used

Scanty granulation tissue at incised gapExuberant granulation tissue to fill gap

Neat linear scarContracted irregular wound

Complications infrequentCommon complications Infection of wound - delay healing Implantation (epidermal) cyst Rust coloured pigmentation (hemosiderin) Deficient scar formation - inadequate granulation tissue formation Incisional hernia/wound dehiscence Hypertrophied scars/keloid (excessive, ugly, painful scars) Excessive contraction - Duputyrens contracture Neoplasia Squamous cell carcinoma in Marjolins ulcer


Primary wound closure is preferred to close an open wound if possible. Suture is made to bring the skin edges together, and patient only need to keep the suture clean and dry. Pros1. A wound closed primarily heals much more quickly and with less pain.1. Primary closure involves fewer problems with abnormal scarring1. All vital, underlying structures are covered.

Contraindications to Primary Wound ClosureConcern about wound infection is the main reason not to close a wound primarily. If infection develops, the resultant deformity may be worse than that caused by the initial injury alone. The following circumstances are associated with an unacceptably high risk of infection:1. An acute wound > 6 hours old (with the exception of facial wounds)1. Foreign debris in the wound that cannot be completely removed (e.g., a wound with a lot of embedded dirt that you cannot clean completely)1. Active oozing of blood from the wound1. Dead space under the skin closure1. Too much tension on the woundDelayed primary wound closureDelayed primary closure is a compromise between primary repair and allowing an acute wound to heal secondarily. This option may be considered for a wound with characteristics that require secondary closure(e.g., a wound over 6 hours old) even though primary closure is preferable. Initially treat the wound with wet-to-dry dressing changes for a few (23) days with the hope of being able to suture the wound closed within 34 days. The dressings should clean the wound, the tissue swelling caused by the trauma may subside, and all bleeding may be fully controlled.In conclusionPrimary wound closure is done, if injury healed within 6 hours and if it is clean wound. This is to prevent infection. But this method is good for faster recovery of healing.Delayed primary wound closure, after 2-3 days of wet-to-dry dressing to remove the debris and control the oedema or bleeding. If no sign of infection, primary closure is done on day 3 or 4.


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