What is the reason for packing a wound?

  1. I'm a new RN & my question is this: why do we pack wounds instead of just covering the wound with a sterile dressing? The other day I had a pt. who had a sigmoid resection and after the docs removed her staples, her wound opened up on her abdomen, so we were packing it with sterile gauze and then covering it with a dressing. I just am curious as to why we pack wounds, like what is the scientific reason behind it. Thanks!
  2. Visit christvs profile page

    About christvs, BSN, MSN, DNP, RN, NP

    Joined: May '05; Posts: 1,037; Likes: 119
    Nurse Practitioner; from US
    Specialty: 12 year(s) of experience in ACNP-BC


  3. by   JentheRN05
    Yes scientifically speaking it is for debridement. It is a sort of wick so to speak. Soaking up infection/pus/fluids and getting them away from the body. When you remove the packing, you are removing old unhealthy stuff and alllowing the body to heal better.
    Hope this helps.
  4. by   CardioTrans
    By packing the wound you are also helping to prevent the wound closing from the outside in and forming an abscess. If the wound heals from the inside out, it heals by layers, you are keeping the top layers from trapping bad tissue or infection.
  5. by   leslie :-D
    a wet-dry dsg is for the sake of debridement.
    when you pack a wound w/dampened ns gauze, it promotes granulation in its' moist environment. it's very important to cleanse/irrigate the wound before packing.

  6. by   pmsrn76
    The reasons for packing are: to fill dead space, to maintain a warm moist environment, to absorb drainage and to debride, depending on the type of dressing. Check out the WOCN.org website--lots of good info about wound care.
  7. by   Tom85
    Why you pack a wound is no the question. What you pack it with is!. Depending on the amount of exudation something like a Alginate rope might be even needed. Wet-to dry is ok to use but i dont prefer it. If anything use Tenderwet if u wanna go that route. But if it is wet to dry u might wanna go bid, to make sure it doesnt dry out on the patient. that would be an OUCH OUCH. Or go the dsd route

Must Read Topics