Aim: To evaluate the evidence on the impact of different debridement techniques on healing and their efficacy in the treatment of leg ulcers.
Methods: Web-based search (PubMed) for trials investigating surgical, enzymatic, autolytic, osmotic, ultrasound-assisted, and biosurgical wound debridement on leg ulcers with regard to healing and efficacy.
Results: Both surgical and hydrosurgical methods proved to be effective debridement techniques. For conventional surgical debridement, a significantly greater reduction of the wound surface area and a higher healing rate were reported. Studies on autolytic, osmotic, and enzymatic wound debridement showed effective debridement for krill enzymes, dextranomer and manuka honey. Only for manuka honey was there a significantly greater reduction of the wound surface area compared to standard treatment. One study comparing fibrinolysin/DNAse with placebo and one comparing autolytic with enzymatic debridement showed no significant differences between the respective techniques. Trials on ultrasound-assisted wound debridement reported a positive impact on healing. A significant wound surface area reduction was demonstrated in one of them. Maggot therapy led to effective debridement. The largest trial showed no significantly improved healing.
Conclusions: Further studies are needed to strengthen the evidence for a significant impact of wound debridement on the healing of leg ulcers.