Management of the contaminated wound

R. F. Edlich, G. T. Rodeheaver, Thomas R Stevenson, C. M. Magee, J. G. Thacker, M. T. Edgerton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Traumatic wounds are always contaminated by bacteria, soil, and other foreign bodies. There is a delicate balance between the deleterious effects of the contaminants and the resistance of the host wound to infection. Successful management of the contaminated wound must include cleansing techniques that remove these contaminants while inflicting minimal injury to the tissue. The number of residual bacteria in the wound after cleansing is a critical determinant of infection. Most traumatic wounds containing >10 5 bacteria/g tissue are very likely to develop infection. When the bacterial count of a wound is below this level, and after soil and devitalized tissue are removed, wound healing without infection is consistently noted in healthy patients. Fortunately, most soft tissue wounds contain <10 5 organisms/g tissue. Those exhibiting high levels of bacterial inoculum must be subjected to treatments that reduce the bacterial count, remove all nonvital tissue, and prevent the development of infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCOMPR.THER.
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 1977
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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