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Infection Debridement

What is Infection Debridement?

Debridement is a medical term that defines cleansing a wound or injury site of torn or otherwise damaged or dead tissues that may cause infection, failure to heal properly, disability and in some cases, lead to deep infection and gangrene. The process facilitates the healing process. Wound infection debridement removes unhealthy or infected tissue from open wounds. A variety of methods may facilitate removal of diseased, dead or infected tissue at, in and around wound sites.

Reasons for Infection Debridement

  • Aid in healing bedsores (decubitus ulcers)
  • Remove tissue contaminated or infected with bacteria, dead cells or tissue
  • Develop and encourage smooth healing edges of a wound
  • Reduce scarring of tearing wounds
  • Remove dead or damaged burn tissue
  • Collect various wound tissues for examination or diagnosis


Your doctor may determine that a joint injury or wound may require debridement through a physical examination and asking you questions, as well as numerous diagnostic approaches, including:

  • X-rays
  • CT scans
  • MRI
  • Arthroscopy

Infected Wound Debridement Procedure

  • Visual examination of wound
  • Collection of small portion of suspected infected tissue for positive diagnosis of infection
  • Measurements of the wound surface and edges are taken
  • Local or topical anesthetic injected into the site prior to the procedure. For severely infected wounds or burns, you may be given a general anesthetic so you'll be asleep during the procedure
  • Scraping, cutting or slicing away dead, damaged or infected tissue from healthy tissue in and surrounding the wound

A surgical infection wound debridement may require a variety of surgical instruments including a scalpel, forceps, scissors and probes. Before, during and after the debridement procedure, the wound will be flushed and irrigated with a sterile solution to wash away pieces of dead or diseases tissue.

A chemical debridement procedure is performed via the application of a chemical solution to the infected wound. The wound is then wrapped in a dressing. Enzymes within the solution will dissolve dead tissues in the wound. The area will be irrigated, flushed or inspected regularly throughout this process.

What to Expect

The actual debridement procedure may take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more, depending on the condition and location of the wound site. You can expect some post-procedure pain, which is handled with pain medication. In some cases, several sessions of debridement over a several week period may be necessary.