Debunking Wound Care’s Biggest Myth
New studies have proven that a moist wound environment rather than a dry one is best for wound healing.
Wound care is one of the oldest forms of medical treatment, so there are an endless number of outdated “facts” and misunderstandings surrounding the proper care of ulcers. Everyone has their own opinion about the right ways to enhance the healing of a wound, but advancements in the medical world have changed the way clinicians approach the treatment process.
One of the biggest misconceptions that has been held true for centuries is wounds should be dried out for proper healing. In the past, clinicians and well-meaning parents alike would advise people to leave their wounds un-bandaged to let it air out or to apply absorbent bandages to keep the affected area free of moisture. Only recently has it been discovered that an enclosed, moist wound environment makes for the most effective wound healing.
A study published in the Annals of Plastic Surgery aimed to determine the effects of moist wound care. Researchers used a porcine wound model, to compare wet conditions using saline, moist conditions using hydrocolloid dressings and dry conditions using sterile gauze. The scientists found an increase in the presence of liquids led to faster healing (wet wounds healed after six days, while moist ones took seven days and dry wounds took eight). Additionally, moist and wet wound care led to less necrosis and inflammation as well as higher quality in the newly regenerated epidermis.
In addition to speeding up the progression of wound healing stages, moisture reduces discomfort and pain among patients – pulling off a dry dressing can be terribly unpleasant and even tear away epidermis that has grown during healing. Additionally, moist wound dressings reduce the risk of infection compared to an uncovered wound. This may seem counter-intuitive as many know that wet environments can breed bacteria, but studies have proven that dry healing methods are no more effective at reducing the risk of infection.