5.1 Necrotic tissue Listen

Necrosis is dead tissue that needs to be removed by debridement. There are several methods of debridement. Autolytic debridement is where gels and certain dressings can be used which donate moisture to the necrotic tissue to assist the body’s own cleansing mechanisms in the removal of this tissue. The purpose of debridement is to reduce prolonged wound healing, reduce bacterial burden and to aid more effective assessment of the wound in its entirety. A wound may appear small; removing the necrosis can expose a much larger area.

Sharp debridement of necrotic tissue should only ever be undertaken by a qualified practitioner. Where wound debridement is being considered, referral to a tissue viability nurse should be made as there are other types of debridement methods that can be used which are less invasive such as larval therapy or hydrosurgical debridement.