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Current Concepts in Debridement: Science and Strategies

Anghel, Ersilia L. BS, BA; DeFazio, Michael V. MD; Barker, Jenny C. MD, PhD; Janis, Jeffrey E. MD; Attinger, Christopher E. MD

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: September 2016 - Volume 138 - Issue 3S - p 82S-93S
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000002651
Original Articles

Background: The establishment of a healthy wound bed through adequate debridement of infected, senescent, and/or devitalized tissue is central to the progression of normal wound healing. Although a variety of surgical and nonsurgical strategies have been proposed, none have proven completely effective in all settings. This review focuses on the principles and techniques of modern debridement practices employed in the management of complex wounds.

Methods: A comprehensive review of the PubMed/Medline and Ovid databases was performed to identify basic science and clinical studies using key words most relevant to biofilm, debridement, and wound healing. English language articles that were peer reviewed and that met the standard of evidence-based medicine were included. Level of evidence for various debridement approaches was rated utilizing the American Society of Plastic Surgeons Rating Levels of Evidence and Grading Recommendations.

Results: The value of both operative and nonoperative debridement techniques, their indications, and limitations are described. With an emphasis placed on surgical debridement, this review highlights technical adjuncts that can be used to optimize wound bed preparation, including preoperative topical staining of the wound, as well as the use of color-guided endpoints to prevent removal of excess healthy tissue. The indications for using temporizing measures for wound control such as negative pressure wound therapy with and without installation are also discussed.

Conclusion: Optimal management requires a multimodal approach that centers around operative debridement and incorporates the use of adjunctive measures to facilitate the removal of infected tissue, biofilm, and/or senescent cells that impede the progression of normal wound healing.

Washington, DC; and Columbus, Ohio

From the Department of Plastic Surgery, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital; and Department of Plastic Surgery, Ohio State University Medical Center.

Received for publication March 14, 2016; accepted June 10, 2016.

Disclosure:Dr. Attinger is a consultant for KCI, an Acelity company, Smith & Nephew, and Integra. Dr. Janis is a consultant for LifeCell, an Acelity company; has received prior honoraria from Bard, Pacira, and KCI, an Acelity company; and receives royalties from CRC Press. None of the other authors has any financial disclosures.

Jeffrey E. Janis, MD, FACS, Department of Plastic Surgery, University Hospitals, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, 915 Olentangy River Road, Suite 2100, Room 2114, Columbus, OH 43212,

Copyright © 2016 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons