U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention - Leading the effort to treat and prevent diabetes in American Indians and Alaska Natives


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Simple Wound Debridement

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NOTE: Access to this information is not restricted; however, the information found here is intended for use by medical providers. Some videos contain graphic images. Patients should talk with their medical providers about any specific concerns.

Equipment:

  • Good lighting
  • Comfortable place for the patient to put their feet up
  • Comfortable seat for the provider
  • #15 disposable blade scalpel
  • Non-sterile gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • 4 X 4 gauze
  • Bandages
  • Kerlix

Procedure:

  • Wash foot with soap and water.  Do not use Betadine.
  • Anesthesia is usually not needed for this procedure.
  • Scrape center of wound to remove dead tissue until there is bleeding and seepage and pink healthy tissue appears.
  • Leave the margins of the ulcer undisturbed.
  • Cover ulcer and foot with wet-to-dry saline dressing.
  • Wrap with Kerlix.
  • Instruct the patient or caregiver to change dressing daily (or 2 times daily if there is excessive drainage) while the ulcer heals.
  • Instruct the patient to be non-weight bearing or use a special off loading boot.
  • Follow up weekly for any additional debridement.
  • Ulcers can take up to several months to heal.

Monitor wound size:

  • Refer the patient to a wound specialist if wound size is not reduced in size by 25% in 2 weeks.
  • Or if wound becomes complicated by extensive cellulitis, deep space infection, gangrene, or systemic infection.
Overview How To Other Resources

Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention | Phone: (505) 248-4182 | Fax: (505) 248-4188 | diabetesprogram@ihs.gov