STEPS OF WOUND HEALING
a. A wound occurs and the elasticity of the skin and spasm of muscle cause the
initial wound to become larger. The healing process begins. A blood clot forms,
contracts, dries, and forms a scab. This is the first protective covering of the wound.
Next, the inflammation process begins. In the inflammation process, the blood supply to
the injured area increases and substances of leukotoxin and histamine are released by
the injured cells to promote repair and regrowth of tissues. Leukotoxin draws white
blood cells to the area; these cells destroy and remove foreign substances. Histamine
and other substances increase the permeability of the capillary walls allowing fluids,
proteins, and white blood cells to move into the injured area. Inflammation is the best
environment for wound healing. A problem occurs only if foreign matter remains in the
b. Twelve hours after injury, epithelialization begins. In this phase of wound
healing, epithelium forms over the wound. If the wound is superficial, epithelium forms
in a few hours. In a deep wound, epithelialization may take days or weeks. At the
same time granulation tissue is present, tissue made of fibrous-collagen and capillary
loops. This tissue provides excellent protection from infection. At this stage, the wound
appears pink (due to the new capillaries in the granulation tissue), and the area is soft
and tender. Collagen, a supportive protein component of skin, changes from a liquid to
a gel to scar tissue. The wound becomes stronger for seventeen days at which time 90
percent of the wound's strength has been regained.
Healing is a natural process, the mechanism through which the body repairs or
replaces damaged tissue. Many wounds need help to heal properly or at all. Your
knowledge of proper wound care and treatment may determine how well a wound heals,
from a cosmetic standpoint as well as from a health standpoint. To this end, it is
important for you to be thoroughly knowledgeable in the most effective means to care
for wounds and to prevent wound infection.
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