Wound Healing

Understanding Wound Healing & Treatment Options

Wound healing is a natural process by which the body repairs damaged skin and tissue. As we age, these processes may become impaired, but with proper medical care and treatment, many wounds will heal successfully. Knowing the stages of wound healing, possible treatments, and how to manage chronic wounds can help ensure optimum results.

Stages of Wound Healing

The body repairs a wound through four distinct stages. Depending on the severity of the wound, each stage may take a different amount of time to complete.

  • Inflammation: Occurring shortly after injury, this is the body’s natural immune response to the wound, where increased blood flow brings in oxygen and nutrients in order to promote healing.
  • Proliferation: During this phase, the body begins generating new blood vessels to the wound site to replace those lost during the injury. This helps with new skin growth and should be carefully monitored to ensure the wound site is protected from infection.
  • Remodeling: During this phase, new collagen is formed, and the damaged tissue is replaced with healthy new tissue. This is where normal movement and function eventually returns to the area.
  • Maturation: During this final stage, wounds become fully healed and skin appears normal.

Treating Wounds

The main treatment goal is to reduce the bacteria level in the wound, keep it clean, and promote proper healing. Here are some main treatment methods:

  • Stabilizing the Wound: Wound care may require stabilization to make sure the wound doesn’t re-open. This can be done with external devices such as sutures, staples, bandaging, or casts.
  • Treating Infections: If a wound becomes infected, antibiotics may be necessary to treat the infection and keep it from spreading.
  • Speed Up the Healing Process: The healing process can often be sped up with treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, in which a patient is exposed to 100% oxygen in order to promote healing.

Managing Chronic Wounds

Chronic wounds, which take longer than 6 weeks to heal, may require more complex treatment strategies. Preventing pressure injuries, will determine a patient’s outcome. All patients should take preventive measures such as maintaining optimally clean wounds with proper wound care techniques.

In addition to proper wound care, treatments such as wound debridement, tissue therapy, and topical wound healing substances may be used to help chronic wounds heal more quickly. Keeping the wound covered and moisturized may also encourage the wound healing process.

Patient lifestyle changes such as proper nutrition, exercise, and rest may also improve the healing process. Finally, managing underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or hypertension can reduce the risk of infection and slow healing.


Wound healing is a complex process, and treatment should be tailored to each unique situation. Understanding the healing process and possible treatments can help ensure the wound heals correctly and with minimal complications. If you have a wound that is not healing properly, seek medical care to ensure it is properly treated.