Bicycle accidents can cause serious injuries including lacerations, bruising, broken bones and severe road rash wounds. Because the rider often falls onto the pavement of the road, or a gravel area just off the road, injuries to the skin are very common and often require medical care after the accident.
Medical care can involve anything from sutures to prescriptions for pain control to debridement. If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, seek medical attention as quickly as possible to ensure that your injuries are properly treated.
What is debridement?
Debridement surgery is a medical procedure that is used to remove any foreign debris or material in a wound or to extract necrotic (dead) tissue that exists in the wound area. The purpose of debridement is to eliminate any potential for infection and to expose healthy tissue to allow healing to begin.
The debridement procedure allows medical professionals to accurately evaluate a wound and helps control inflammation. Debridement surgery may be used to clean and treat new wounds or abscesses associated with existing wounds that have become infected.
There are four different approaches to debridement and any of the following may be utilized to treat a wound after a bicycle accident.
- Mechanical debridement: This process involves using a saline-soaked dressing which is applied to the wound and allowed to set overnight. When the dressing is pulled away from the skin, it adheres to any dead tissue and removes it. This is an old and painful method used only when new healing cells are not yet present.
- Because the dressing cannot discern between old and new skin it can adhere to healthy cells as well as dead cells, interfering with the healing process.
- Debridement surgery: This procedure involves the use of a scalpel or scissors to cut away the dead tissue. This is a popular method when the wound is developing inflammation, cellulitis or sepsis.
- Using a topical anesthetic to control pain, the physician will rinse the area with saline and then grab the dead skin with forceps while slowly cutting away the necrotic area. This process sometimes requires more than one session to completely remove all affected tissue.
- Chemical debridement: This process makes use of enzymes or other compounds to effectively dissolve dead tissue around the wound. Topical anesthetics and antibiotics help control pain and eliminate the potential for infection to invade the blood stream.
- This is an effective method that allows the body to do its own work by creating its own enzyme, called collagenase that helps break down the building blocks of the skin.
- Autolytic debridement: This type of debridement procedure takes the longest to achieve its goal and is not suitable for wounds showing signs of infection. To allow the body to naturally dissolve the dead tissue, autolytic debridement involves the use of moistened dressings that are designed to trap wound fluids that contain necessary immune cells and enzymes that promote healing.
Risks and Outcomes
The desired result of debridement surgery is to allow the body to heal the wound, and moist dressings are used to control bleeding and keep the wound protected after the debridement process. Follow up visits ensure that healing is progressing as planned.
The debridement process may sometimes need to be repeated. Risks of debridement include damage to tendons and/or muscles beneath or around the wound. Healing times vary greatly depending on the location and severity of the wound and debridement procedures.
Call Max Meyers if you’ve Been Injured
After a bicycle accident you may not be fully cognizant of your rights and obligations under the law. If you’ve been injured, you may be incurring costly medical bills and/or missing time at work. Max Meyers understands the complexity of bicycle accidents and is experienced in navigating the complex claim process. Call us today at 425-399-7000 to set up a consultation to discuss your case with an attorney.