Debridement is the process of cleaning and removing dead, damaged or infected tissue to ease and improve the healing process. There are several types of debridement: surgical, mechanical, chemical, autolytic, and maggot therapy.
Uses for Debridement
Sharp surgical debridement and laser debridement are used for wounds with a large amount of necrotic (dying) and/or infected tissue. These are the fastest methods of debridement, where the process can be performed either in or out of the operating room. Local or general anesthetic may be used during the process to help ease the pain associated with the procedure.
Some non-healing wounds must be treated with biodebridement, also known as maggot debridement therapy (MDT.) MDT has been performed successfully for more than 100 years. However, the popularity of new surgical techniques and antibiotics has caused some fluctuations in the use of MDT. The technique is now generally used as a 2nd or 3rd line treatment. While MDT does seem like a relatively archaic form of treatment, the use of “sterile” (disinfected) medical fly larvae for debridement is actually very effective. The larvae clean the wound by dissolving or consuming dead and infected tissue, killing bacteria and speeding the rate of healing relatively quickly (within 2-3 days). The MDT process is relatively painless. More recent studies have shown that the positive effects of MDT when used earlier in the course of treatment is even more dramatic, and has even contributed to an improved success rate in limb salvage.