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Venous Skin Ulcer: Debridement

Topic Overview

A venous skin ulcer is a shallow wound that typically happens on the lower leg. It is caused by slowed blood circulation called venous insufficiency.

To help your skin ulcer heal, your doctor may also remove dead tissue from the wound. This is called debridement.

With debridement, your doctor removes any dead or poorly healing tissue from the surface of a skin ulcer.

Debridement methods include:

  • Autolytic debridement, allowing the damaged or dead tissue to degenerate on its own by keeping the wound covered and moist. This may be done with dressings such as gels, foams, or films placed under a compression bandage.
  • Chemical debridement, breaking down dead tissue with an enzyme debriding agent.
  • Mechanical debridement, using gauze or using ultrasound and a saline mist.
  • Surgical debridement, using a scalpel or scissors to remove dead tissue.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Margaret Doucette, DO - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Wound Care, Hyperbaric Medicine
Last Revised August 9, 2013

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