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Wound Healing and Hyper-Hydration – A Counter Intuitive Model

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Wound healing and hyper-hydration – a counter intuitive model
Karen Ousey, PhD1, Mark G. Rippon, PhD2

Introduction: Wound hydration has been the basis of modern wound care since Winter in the 1960s showed the benefits of moist wound healing over dry1. Adoption of moist wound healing led to the development of numerous types of modern wound dressings. These wound dressings have been designed to aid moisture balance and optimise tissue hydration levels.


Hyper-hydrated vs. dry wounds

Wounds in a hyper-hydrated environment show the following benefits compared with dry wounds2

•Up to 50% faster wound healing
•Less scarring and better cosmetic results
•Faster wound contraction
•Enhanced and faster re-epithelialisation
•Generally increased cellular proliferation, including keratinocyte and fibroblast growth
•Prolonged presence of growth factors and cytokines
•Promotion of angiogenesis/ re-vascularisation
•Greater production and quality of extracellular matrix, including elevated collagen synthesis
•Lower rates of infection
•Wound cleansing and irrigation
•Painless removal of dressings without destroying newly formed tissue

Hyper-hydration vs. Maceration

Unfortunately, similarities in the presentation of HYPER-HYDRATION vs MACERATION may cause confusion and unwarranted intervention.

This confusion can lead to the wrong treatment pathway being followed and ultimately be detrimental to the patient and the healing outcome of the wound (see Table and Figure).

A clinical distinction must therefore be made between hyper-hydration and maceration and the different CAUSES and EFFECTS taken into consideration.

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