Debridement is the removal of dead, devitalized or contaminated tissue from ulcers, burns and other wounds. By helping to reduce the number of toxins, microbes and other substances in a wound, debridement promotes healing and reduces the risk of infection. In conjunction with other methods, debridement is considered an essential component in the treatment of chronic (nonhealing) wounds.

Depending on the size, placement and severity of the wound, one of the following debridement methods may be used:

  • Surgical
  • Autolytic
  • Enzymatic
  • Mechanical
  • Biosurgical (use of sterile maggots)

Surgical debridement, in which a scalpel, scissors or other instrument is used to cut away dead tissue, is the quickest and, usually, most effective method.

Additional Resources