Wound healing and hyper-hydration - a counter intuitive model

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Ousey, Karen ; Cutting, Keith (2016)

Winters seminal work in the 1960s relating to providing an optimal level of moisture to aid wound healing (granulation and re-epithelialisation) has been the single most effective advance in wound care over many decades. As such the development of advanced wound dressings that manage the fluidic wound environment have provided significant benefits in terms of healing to both patient and clinician. Although moist wound healing provides the guiding management principle confusion may arise between what is deemed to be an adequate level of tissue hydration and the risk of developing maceration. In addition, the counter-intuitive model ‘hyper-hydration’ of tissue appears to frustrate the moist wound healing approach and advocate a course of intervention whereby tissue is hydrated beyond what is a normally acceptable therapeutic level. This paper discusses tissue hydration, the cause and effect of maceration and distinguishes these from hyper-hydration of tissue. The rationale is to provide the clinician with a knowledge base that allows optimisation of treatment and outcomes and explains the reasoning behind wound healing using hyper-hydration.
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