Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Does Washing Help Chronic Wounds?

During my professional youth, our patients would have their lower extremity wounds washed during clinical visits.  This was done in lukewarm water with a drop of potassium permanganate.  Once washed, the patient's leg would be dried, massaged and bandaged before being sent home with a smiling face.

When we look at the evidence though, we cannot say definitively whether or not washing helps, but we do know that it makes the patients feel more at ease. Clearly if they are more relaxed, it must be doing something positive. Clearly if a leg massage makes someone more relaxed, it must be reducing tissue swelling. Right?

Today, we are bombarded with news about chronic wound infection, biofilms, and so on, but the question still remains, should we wash our wounds or not?