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How Wounds Heal
There’s basically four phases of wound healing. We’ll start at the very beginning and discuss these as they occur in order, but realizing that certain things that happen in each phase overlap with the previous phase or the following phase, so it’s more of a continuum. These are not distinct individual events that occur. But, hemostasis is the first phase of wound healing we talk about, followed by inflammation, proliferation, and then finally with maturation.
This entire process can take up to two years from start to finish, but it is a progress-wise timeline that goes from the left to the right. You start with the hemostasis once the initial injury has occurred, and over time get all the way through to the end of the maturation stage.
The Phases of Wound Healing
Starting with the hemostasis phase, usually, when you have an initial injury, your body doesn’t want to bleed to death, so its first and most important thing it has to do is to stop the bleeding. The predominant cell type that is present during this phase is going to be platelets, although platelets really aren’t cells I guess they’re maybe more of a portion of cell, but that’s the predominant thing that’s present in the wound, is aggregate of platelets that form to make that initial clot to stop the bleeding.
Scab formation may be present. There’s not just platelets in that, but there’s a collection of necrotic cells, fibrin, and collagen. All those things combined will make that scab. Once that scab has been made and the bleeding has stopped, you’re going to progress into what is called the inflammation stage. Now, some of the things that occur in inflammation actually started to happen whenever the hemostasis phase was still going on. The main purpose of the inflammatory phase is to fight the infectious process. We want to make sure that we’ve closed off and stopped the bleeding. We want to make sure that nothing enters the body that’s not supposed to enter the body. The hemostasis process kind of keeps things from leaving the body that we don’t want to leave. Inflammation is going to keep things from entering that we don’t want to enter it.