Our aging population has presented us with many new challenges. One such challenge is the need to manage an increase in wound-related problems effectively and efficiently. Over time, two parallel, yet divergent, management systems have developed. One strategy, used by medical specialists, uses a variety of dressings, topical enzymes, and local and systemic medications ultimately aimed at the promotion of healing by secondary intention or, in some cases, optimization of the wound for surgical reconstruction. In the second strategy, used by surgeons, early surgical intervention is used to prepare the wound for reconstruction in a timelier manner while promoting the healing process. This article reviews the development of these two distinct management systems and their areas of commonality and sets forth a new model to support the role of surgery in the treatment of problematic wounds.
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