Phases of Wound Healing

There are three stages in wound healing.

Phases of Wound Healing

There are three stages in wound healing:

  • Inflammatory Phase (Inflammation)

    Under normal conditions, this stage usually lasts 3-5 days. Wounds can become red in appearance, swell, and feel hot or painful as the immune system fights the invasion of bacteria and microbes. Patients should keep wounds clean at this stage.

  • Proliferative Phase (Proliferation)

    This phase often ranges between 10 days to 4 weeks. New microvessels are generated to bring more collagen tissue to wound repair while granulation tissue proliferates to reduce the size of the wound bed. Most importantly, a moist environment and less frequent dressing changes are helpful for wound healing, especially for clean wounds with few exudates.

  • Maturation/Remodeling Phase

    This phase may last from 2 weeks up to 6 months. Collagen is remodeled and wounds fully close. Collagen fibers may come closer together and cross-link, which reduces scar thickness. Protection is necessary for newly generated skin in order to prevent keloids and hypertrophic scars.

New Concepts of Wound Healing

Scarring is thought of as an inevitable process of wound healing. However, scars can be minimized when wound care is undertaken in a moist environment.

  • Exudates, the natural anti-inflammatory drug

    An exudate is rich in growth factors and immune cells, and thus regarded as the best anti-inflammatory drug for wounds.

  • Moist environment for better healing

    A moist environment is better than a dry one to repair cells and accelerate the healing process.

  • Moist environment for minimizing scars

    Dry wounds usually heal slower and are prone to injury or bleeding. Advanced dressings with breathable, waterproofing, and moisture-enhancing features can keep exudates on wound beds for a better healing process as well as minimize the formation of scars.

Influences on Wound Healing

  • Moist wound environment allows cells to repair the injured tissue better.

  • Wound infection by bacteria or microbes can delay healing.

  • Dirty/contaminated wounds can result in slow healing.

  • Elderly people may be inclined to experience a slower recovery.

  • Patients with weak immunity could experience a slower healing process.

  • Better nutrition is helpful for wound healing.

  • Poor blood circulation can negatively influence healing.

  • Recovery process is affected if patient is diabetic, suffered a stroke, or is long-term bedridden.

  • Medications such as steroids, antimetabolites and anticoagulant affect wound healing.

  • Necrotic tissues and edema, as well as pressure injuries can affect recovery.

  • Improper care, such as overstimulation by hydrogen peroxide or drug overdose, also inhibit the recovery process.