Wound Healing Wound healing is a complex and dynamic process of replacing devitalized and missing cellular structures and tissue layers. The wound healing process can be divided into 4 distinct phases.
Phase 1: Hemostasis Phase
Hemostasis, the first phase of healing, begins at the onset of injury, and the objective is to stop the bleeding.
Phase 2: Defensive Phase
If Phase 1 is primarily about coagulation, the second phase, called the Defensive Phase, focuses on destroying bacteria and removing debris—essentially preparing the wound bed for the growth of new tissue.
This phase often lasts four to six days and is often associated with edema, erythema (reddening of the skin), heat and pain.
Phase 3: Proliferative Phase
Once the wound is cleaned out, the wound enters Phase 3, the Proliferative Phase, where the focus is to fill and cover the wound.
The Proliferative phase features three distinct stages:
- filling the wound;
- contraction of the wound margins;
- covering the wound (epithelialization).
The Proliferative phase often lasts anywhere from four to 24 days.
Phase 4: Maturation Phase
During the Maturation phase, the new tissue slowly gains strength and flexibility. The Maturation phase varies greatly from a wound to wound, often lasting anywhere from 21 days to two years.
The healing process is remarkable and complex, and it is also susceptible to interruption due to local and systemic factors, including moisture, infection, and maceration (local); and age, nutritional status, body type (systemic). When the right healing environment is established, the body works in wondrous ways to heal and replace devitalized tissue.