Moist Wound Healing & the two finger salute!

When I see the hand surgeon I am advised of the benefits of moist wound healing to speed up the recovery of my fingers.  So for any of you out there who may have injured yourself, I can definitely recommend it, and the dressings don’t stick and have to be soaked off like normal dry dressings which just causes more pain.  I can’t say that i was aware of this, or certainly only vaguely in the back of my mind do I remember reading about this, and previously had been advised to let wounds dry out, which is not the best method.

Moist Wound Healing has actually been around since the 1960/70s, when it was proven that there is a 40% shorter healing period with wounds healed in a moist environment compared to a dry gauze dressing or letting the wound dry out and form a scab.  The scab is just the bodies way of preventing environmental hazards entering the wound.  Scab formation delays the healing process.  Instead a simple barrier such as vaseline over the wound, or a specialist dressing, such as Jelonet dressing gives a barrier, keeps the wound moist and stops the formation of a scab and  there is much less scarring at the end.  Just a plaster or dressing is needed over the top of this.  The liquid secreted from the wound apparently contains a number of  agents which support a successful healing process. If the wound dries out this doesn’t happen.   Modern materials used for wound dressing  are designed to promote the moist wound environment. First clinical studies performed during the 1970s document the healing time reduction with this method. Despite this, it took another 30 years for Dr’s to start to implement the moist healing into general medical practice, and the message is still not really getting out there. The main moist wound healing advantages are the 40% shorter healing period and a much lower pain factor.  However in the 1960’s/70’s they didn’t clean the wounds often enough, and left with a moist dressing infections got into the wounds.  All that was needed was simply to wash the wound with water twice a day, and reapply a moist dressing, instead of just leaving a moist dressing in place. Dr’s became concerned that moist wound healing lead to infection which wasn’t the case. This has stopped the adoption of  moist wound healing practice and set us back years.

There is documentation indicating that even the ancient tribes dressed their wounds to keep them moist with fine linen soaked in oil. The Greeks applied animal fat and wrapped the wounds, and the Romans applied ashes, oil and herbs and wrapped the wounds.  Clearly they knew a lot more than us!

Since then, multiple studies have established that a moist wound environment facilitates cellular growth and collagen proliferation. Dry wound tissue is more prone to infection, scarring, delayed healing and pain.  Having had a dry dressing put on at A&E for the first couple of days I can definitely say it was much more painful.  Once I saw the Hand Surgeon and was advised about moist wound healing, it was considerably  less painful and also you are not damaging the new cells forming by pulling off dry stuck dressings.  So I am very grateful I was advised about this by someone very knowledgeable, as I definitely think I will avoid any skin grafts with this method.

My fingers are healing slowly, but I realise because I am having to hold them up out of the way when typing and when doing lots of things due to them still being very painful, I am actually walking around giving a constant two finger salute! Looking a the urban dictionary of the two finger salute it can mean various things.  But I am going for a victory salute!!, and I shall be victorious over my injuries!


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