Before the seminal research of the 1960s, it was widely believed that wound healing could be encouraged by maintaining a dry wound bed. Despite all the evidence amassed over the intervening years to confirm the benefits of maintaining a moist healing environment, many patients still appear skeptical and instinctively averse to the idea of moisture in the wound. It would seem the importance of maintaining a moisture balance in the wound is one of those principles that has not successfully passed from healthcare professional to the patient.
Within the healthcare profession, the paradigm shift toward moist wound healing has revolutionized acute and chronic wound care. It is now known that a balanced moist wound environment is critical to wound healing by facilitating cellular growth and collagen proliferation within a healthy noncellular matrix. In acute wounds, a balanced moist surface facilitates the action of growth factors, cytokines, and chemokines, thus promoting cellular growth and the establishment of a provisional wound matrix. Inadequate moisture due, for example, to exposure of the wound environment to air, promotes wound desiccation, necrosis, and eschar formation, and results in poorer wound healing rates.
Too Much Moisture Is a Thing
However, as with all things in life, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. While a degree of moisture in the wound bed is required, excess moisture can actually impair the healing process and damage the surrounding skin, leading to periwound maceration. If the excess moisture is left unchecked, healing can be impeded, and there may also be a subsequent breakdown and further deterioration of the wound bed.
The key to optimal wound healing is therefore in maintaining a balance. Too much moisture and the wound becomes macerated; too little moisture and the essential healing processes cannot function. It is down to the skill and knowledge of the wound care specialist to maintain the correct moisture balance and promote effective wound healing.
To learn more about the importance of maintaining the appropriate balance of moisture in the wound, and for advice and guidance on how this can be achieved, why not consider gaining a certification in wound care. Studying for wound care certification allows you to refresh your knowledge on all aspects of wound management, and to learn new skills and knowledge along the way.
Learn More With Our Wound Care Education Options
Interested in learning more about wound care and certification? Browse through our wound care certification courses for information on our comprehensive range of education options to suit healthcare professionals across the full spectrum of qualifications and experience.
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- Hess C. Meeting the Goal: Wound Bed Preparation Advances in Skin & Wound Care. 2008; 21(7):344, .
- Myers BA. Wound management principles and practice. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson; 2008.
- Okan D, Woo K, Ayello E, Sibbald G. The Role of Moisture Balance in Wound Healing. Advances in Skin & Wound Care 2007; 20(1):39-53