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INTRODUCTION• A wound is defined as a breakdown in the protective

function of the skin; the loss of continuity of epithelium, with or without loss of underlying connective tissue as a result of trauma, infection or pathological process (Leaper & Harding, 1998)… ulcer•Wound healing is a complex sequence of overlapping

events which are often described separately for ease of explanation but in reality form a continuum often referred to as the healing cascade (Diegelmann and Evans,2004).

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•Mechanical Agents• Chemical Agents• Radiant Energy • Pathogenic Micro-Organisms

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CLASSIFICATION OF TYPES OF WOUND• Based on the duration• Based on breach of the epithelium• Based on hygiene

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• An acute wound is one that proceeds through an orderly and timely reparative process to establish sustained anatomic and functional integrity


• A chronic wound is one that has failed to proceed through an orderly and timely reparative process to produce anatomic and functional integrity or has proceeded through the repair process without establishing a sustained anatomic and functional result.

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• CLOSED- Contusion/Bruise• OPEN- Abrasion

Incision Laceration Puncture/Penetrating/Peforating Avulsion Amputation

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Illustration showing closed wounds

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Illustration showing types of open wounds

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STAGES OF WOUND HEALINGConsist of 3 highly integrated and overlapping phases: • Inflammatory• Proliferative or Fibroblastic•Maturation or Remodelling These phases and their physiological functions must occur in the proper sequence, at a specific time and duration at an optimal intensity

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INFLAMMATORY PHASE• Characterized by haemostasis and inflammation.• Collagen exposed as a result of the wound activates the

clotting cascade, initiating the inflammatory phase. • The exposed cell membranes release thromboxane A2 &

prostaglandin 2-α which are potent vasoconstrictors.• The clot that forms is made of collagen, platelets, thrombin,

and fibronectin, and these factors release cytokines and growth factors that initiate the inflammatory response. • The fibrin clot serves as a scaffold for cells, such as

neutrophils, monocytes, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells and also to concentrate cytokines and growth factors.

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INFLAMMATORY PHASEChemotaxis and Activation• Immediately after the clot is formed, a cellular distress signal

is sent out and neutrophils are the first responders.• Inflammatory mediators and prostaglandins cause

vasodilation to allow invasion of neutrophils (chemotaxis) by Interleukin (IL)-1, Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF-α), Transforming Growth Factor (TGF-β), Platelet Factor-4 (PF4), and bacterial “products.” •Monocytes in the nearby tissue and in the blood will be

attracted and transform into macrophages, usually around 48 to 96 hours after injury.

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• Neutrophils aid in clearing the wound of invading bacteria and cellular debris by release of proteolytic enzymes that will digest bacteria and nonviable tissue. • Numerous enzymes and cytokines are secreted by the

macrophage, including collagenases, which debride the wound; Interleukins and TNF-α, which stimulate fibroblasts and promote angiogenesis; and TGF, which stimulates keratinocytes

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PROLIFERATIVE/FIBROBLASTIC PHASE (4-14Days)• Epithelialization, angiogenesis, granulation tissue formation,

and collagen deposition are the principal steps in this phase.• The stimulus for epithelial proliferation and chemotaxis is

epidermal growth factor (EGF) and TGF-β produced by activated platelets and macrophages.• IL-1 and TNF-α upregulate the expression of keratinocyte

growth factor (KGF) gene in fibroblasts leading to synthesis and secretion of KGF-1, KGF-2, and IL-6, which simulate neighbouring keratinocytes to migrate in the wound area, proliferate, and differentiate in the epidermis.

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PROLIFERATIVE/FIBROBLASTIC PHASE (4-14Days)• Angiogenesis, stimulated by TNF-α, is marked by endothelial

cell migration and capillary formation. The migration of capillaries into the wound bed is critical for proper wound healing. • Fibroblasts migrate into the wound site from the surrounding

tissue, become activated, and begin synthesizing collagen and proliferate.• Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and EGF are the main

signals to fibroblasts and are derived from platelets and macrophages.

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PROLIFERATIVE/FIBROBLASTIC PHASE (4-14Days)• Fibroblasts already located in the wound site will begin

synthesizing collagen and transform into myofibroblasts for wound contraction (induced by macrophage-secreted TGF-β); they have less proliferation compared with the fibroblasts coming in from the wound periphery.• In response to PDGF, fibroblasts begin synthesizing a

provisional matrix composed of collagen type III, glycosaminoglycans, and fibronectin.1

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MATURATION/REMODELLING STAGE (Day8-1Yr)• The main feature of this phase is the deposition of

collagen in an organized and well-mannered network.• Collagen synthesis will continue for at least 4 to 5 weeks

after wounding. • The collagen that is initially laid down is thinner than

collagen in uninjured skin and is orientated parallel to the skin.• Over time, the initial collagen threads are reabsorbed and

deposited thicker and organized along the stress lines.• These changes are also accompanied by a wound with an

increased tensile strength.

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MATURATION/REMODELLING STAGE (Day8-1Yr)• The collagen found in granulation tissue is biochemically

different from collagen from uninjured skin. • Granulation tissue collagen has a greater hydroxylation and

glycosylation of lysine residues, and this increase of glycosylation correlates with the thinner fibre size.• The collagen in the scar (even after a year of maturing) will

never become as organized the collagen found in uninjured skin. Wound strength also never returns to 100 percent. At 1 week, the wound has only 3 percent of its final strength; at 3 weeks, 30 percent; and at 3 months (and beyond), approximately 80 percent.

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TYPES OF WOUND HEALING HEALING BY PRIMARY INTENTION (PRIMARY CLOSURE)• Describes the process of wound closure within hours of injury

and is possible where the wound edges remain in proximity to each other and there is little or no tissue loss or damage.

HEALING BY SECONDARY INTENTION (SECONDARY CLOSURE)• A process were healing takes place by contraction and

reepithelialisation as a result of more extensive tissue loss

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DELAYED PRIMARY WOUND CLOSURE (TERTIARY INTENTION)•Wound closure occurs when wound closure is delayed for 3–

6 days due to adverse local conditions such as poor vascularity, uncontrolled bleeding or risk of infection (Gottrup, 1999). • Once conditions improve, wounds are closed. • Delayed primary closure is therefore a compromise between

immediate primary closure and allowing local wound conditions to improve prior to delayed closure.

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BONE HEALING• Osteoblasts and osteoclasts are involved in the

reconstitution and remodeling of bone• Osteoblasts are derived from periosteum, endosteum and

circulating pluripotent mesenchymal cells• Osteoclasts are derived from monocytes. • In the repair of bone, the phenomena of haematoma

formation, absorption of debris and structural tissue production proceed with the modification that osteoblasts, take the place of the fibroblasts and lay down matrix which calcify . •While osteoclasts function to resorb necrotic bone and bone

that needs to be remodeled.

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SURGICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF WOUND HEALING• The surgeon can create conditions that augment or impede

the natural wound healing process.• Adherence to surgical principles facilitate optimal wound

healing, with re establishment of tissue continuity minimization of scar size and restoration of function.• The surgeons goal with respect to scar formation is not to

prevent a scar, but to produce a scar that minimizes any compromise of function and looks as inconspicuous as possible

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FACTORS AFFECTING WOUND HEALINGLOCAL• Ischaemia• Infection• Foreign body• Surgical Technique• Immobilization and Trauma

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SYSTEMIC• Severe Constitutional

Diseases-Diabetes Mellitus, Chronic Nephritis , Congestive Cardiac Failure , Chronic Liver Disease and Syphilitic lesions, Cancer • Hormones• Age

• Nutritional Factors- Vitamins A&C, Protein Deficiency:(Arginine & Glutamine), Trace Elements Deficiencies: Zinc deficiency• Cytotoxic agents• Smoking

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COMPLICATIONS OF WOUND HEALING• Infection• Keloid formation• Hyperpigmentation• Implantation cysts• Neoplasia•Weak scars• Cicatrization

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•Wound healing is a complex process performed by cells that are programmed to achieve wound closure.• Although the process of wound healing appears to be simple,

advances in molecular science have provided a greater understanding of the complex interactions involved. • Understanding of these dynamic physiological processes

improves treatment outcome and better patient care.

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• Badoe et al, Principles and practice of surgery including pathology in the tropics: wound and wound healing. Pages 57-66, 2009.• George Broughton II, Jeffrey E. Janis, Christopher E. Attinger. Wound

Healing: An Overview. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 117: 1e-S, 2006.)• Leaper DJ and Harding KG. Wounds: Biology and Management. Oxford

University Press. 1998• Madeleine Flanagan, Wound Healing and Skin Integrity principles and

practices: physiology of wound healing. Pages 33-49, Wiley Blackwell 2009

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