“Time heals all wounds”, or so the saying goes. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Proper wound treatment can be a very complex, time-consuming and costly task. Identifying the type of wound is the starting point for establishing a clear and personalised treatment regimen.
Many types of wounds can be divided according to their origin, depth and extent, but also according to the duration until complete closure, which often fundamentally differ from one another in terms of therapy and healing process. A common and useful classification is the initial division into acute and chronic wounds.
The quality of primary care of acute wounds is of crucial importance for the functional and aesthetic outcome. The aim is to support the wound healing process in its physiological course as best as possible.
Traumatic (or mechanical) wound
Traumatic wounds are caused by various, mostly external, sharp or blunt forces and trauma (pressure, tension or shear forces) on the tissue. They include accidental or occasional wounds as well as planned surgical wounds.
Thermal, chemical and radiation-induced wounds
• Thermal wounds are produced by exposure of tissue to heat or cold (burns/scalds/frostbite/injuries caused by electricity).
• Chemical wounds occur when the skin or mucous membranes are burned by acids or alkalis.
• Radiation-induced wounds can be caused by radioactive isotopes or ionizing radiation, such as those used in x-rays or radiation therapy. Sunburns caused by UV radiation also fall into this category.
Chronic wounds can develop from an acute wound at any time, e.g., due to an undetected persistent infection or inadequate primary care. In most cases, however, chronic wounds represent the last stage of progressive tissue destruction, triggered by existing underlying diseases (venous, arterial or metabolic vascular diseases), pressure injury (such as decubitus ulcers) or tumours.