Car accidents, encounters with animals, even projects around the house can all result in injuries where the skin and tissue becomes separated. Once this happens, you officially have a wound. Wounds can range from being minimally damaging all the way up to being serious enough to require immediate medical attention. The cause and depth of the wound are often the factors that determine whether the injury is serious or not. Health factors relevant to the patient often determine how long the wound will take to heal.
Types of Wounds
Wounds are separated into different categories depending upon how they were caused and the nature of the injury itself.
- Abrasion- Usually the least serious type of wound, abrasions are caused by the skin having too much friction applied to it. Think about your child scraping his knee on the sidewalk.
- Laceration- Breaks in the skin and underlying tissue that result from coming into contact with a sharp object. Lacerations can be deep and painful.
- Incision- This type of wound is caused by sharp objects like knives, saws or anything else with a blade. They are often deep and bleed profusely.
- Avulsion- This wound is caused by a tearing of the flesh. The cut is not “clean” or organized. It can be caused by a limb being stuck in heavy equipment or even a door. The actual injury generally does not have a pattern as the flesh was torn, but it causes damage to a limb or internal organ.
- Puncture- This type of wound is caused by an object directly piercing the skin and tissue. An accident that occurs when a handyman pierces himself with a nail is classified as a puncture.
How Do They Heal?
There are 4 stages of wound healing: during the various stages of wound healing, damaged cellular structures and tissue layers are restored. Wound healing is a dynamic process consisting of complex series of events that begins at the moment of injury and may continue for months or even years. You are expected to treat open wounds in a very careful manner as an untreated wound may result in infection, leading to complications.
- Inflammatory Phase- The first stage begins with the injury itself. You must have noticed that the wound starts bleeding in the first phase. The blood vessels start narrowing right away. At the same time, you can observe the formation of clots at the site of the wound. Certain chemical substances produced by the body, are released right into the wound site for the healing process to begin. Some special cells complete the task of clearing the debris from the wound.
- Proliferative Phase- During the second phase formation of cell latticework or matrix accumulation can be observed. New skin cells and new blood vessels are formed on the matrix formation. Newly formed blood vessels are responsible for the pink or red color of the wound. These newly formed blood vessels, known as capillaries, provide nutrients and oxygen to the rebuilding cells. Thus, new cells grow. Proteins, mainly collagen is supplied by the body which functions like a support for new tissue formations
- Remodeling- The remodeling phase begins some days after the injury. It can be seen that collagen is better organized by this time. Now, the tissues are strengthened by collagen. As the blood vessels become less dense, the wound loses its pink color. As the injured area becomes strong, the wound heals up to 70% of the original skin.
- Epithelialization- This stage involves the laying down of epithelial cells for the formation of new skin. Among the four stages of wound healing, this is the last stage, during which the skin forms a protective barrier between the body and its outer environment. This barrier protects the wound from bacterial infection and excessive loss of water. This stage begins within a few hours from the injury. In the end, you can see a clean skin over the wound.
Why do Some Wounds Last?
Depending upon the depth and severity of the wound, it may take some time to heal. For various reasons, some patients’ bodies are incapable of healing efficiently. They usually get stuck in one of the three healing phases and cannot go through the process properly. If a wound lasts for a month or more, it is considered a chronic wound and needs medical attention. Wounds can become chronic wounds for biological reasons. Particular medical conditions and lifestyle factors can also contribute to slow healing wounds. A patient is more likely to have a slow healing wound if they are subject to:
- Diabetes- Diabetes causes circulation to be reduced, which can significantly increase the amount of time it takes for a wound to heal.
- Malnutrition- As with every other medical condition, your diet affects wound healing. An improper diet will inhibit the healing process significantly. Your body needs protein, carbohydrates and vitamin C to regenerate tissue, so if your diet lacks these components you need to add them in.
- Infection- If your wound is not kept clean, it can become infected. An infection will significantly increase the amount of time it takes to heal.
A slow healing wound should be treated by a professional. There are various forms of treatment that can successfully help your body heal. If you feel that you need to see a doctor for your wound, call 1-888-741-5119 for answers to medical questions and a free physician referral. If you are in Hudson, Trinity or anywhere else in West Pasco County visit Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point online and find out more about their Wound Care Department.