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Education: Wounds

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Definition

A wound is an injury that when affecting the skin is a tear, cut or puncture (open wound), or when caused by a blunt force causes a contusion (closed wound).

closed wound
Open Wound Closed Wound
(Source: http://woundcarekfu.com/) (Source:
www.ultimatesurvivalskills.com/)

Wound healing

Wound healing is a dynamic process which for the sake of description can be divided into 3 phases: inflammatory, proliferative and maturation.

The inflammatory or acute phase of healing begins just seconds after wounding with vasoconstriction and clot formation to stop bleeding. Once this is achieved the blood vessels dilate to allow white blood cells, antibodies, growth factors, enzymes and nutrients to reach the wounded area for healing to occur. Macroscopically this influx of cells and mediators give the wound the characteristic “inflammatory" appearance with erythema, edema, reddening, heat and pain.

After the inflammatory phase, proliferation begins as the injured tissue is rebuilt with deposits of collagen and extracellular matrix into which a new network of vessels grow, called angiogenesis. This new growth of vessels is accompanied by growth is in the form of granulation tissue, rich in new blood vessels and resurfacing with epithelial cells, called  epithelialization.

Maturation is the final phase of healing and occurs once the wound has closed. This phase involves remodeling of collagen from type III to type I. Cellular activity is reduced, blood vessels regresses and a scar is formed.

remodeled wound
Remodeled wound
(Scar formation)
(Source: http://scopeblog.stanford.edu/)

Helpful related Links

For more information about wounds and wound healing the reader is directed to the following websites:

Wikipedia- Wounds: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wound_healing

MedlinePlus: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/wounds.html

Publications

Click here for a complete list of publications on wound healing by our team.

 

 
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