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Wound Color

Wounds are classified by the color of the wound bed.  Wound color helps the physicians or the wound care "team" determine whether debridement is appropriate.

Patients need to be picky about the color of the wound color.  Only RED will do, and the best shad is "blood Red" - not "pale pink" or "grayish red".  There are thousands of words to describe colors; however, you can simplify your assessment by sticking to the "RED-YELLOW-BLACK" Classification System. 


Developing effective wound care management plans:




Red indicates normal healing.  When a wound begins to heal, a layer of pale pink granulation tissue covers the wound bed.  As this layer thickens, it becomes beefy red.


If the wound bed is yellow, patients need to take caution.  Yellow is the color of exudate produced by micro-organisms in an open wound.  A yellow color in the wound bed may be a film of fibrin on the tissue.  Fibrin is a sticky substance that normally acts as a glue in tissue rebuilding.  However, if the wound is unhealthy or too dry, fibrin builds up into a layer that can't be rinsed off and my require debridement.  This exudate appears whitish yellow, creamy yellow, yellowish green, or beige.  The fibrin or water content influences shade.  Tissue that has recently died due to ischemia or infection may also be yellow and need to be debrided.


Black is the least healthy color, and this is a direct signal towards necrosis or tissue death.  Dead, vascular tissue slows healing and provides a site for micro-organisms to proliferate.  Debridement is always necessary for a black wound.  After removing dead tissue, the surgeon will make sure that wound is guarded against external contamination.  Enzyme products, surgical debridement, hydrotherapy with whirlpool or high pressure irrigation is commonly used to help necrosis healing. 

Information about Necrosis


Sometimes the wound exhibits more than one color, and can have up to three colors in a wound.  Classify the wound according to the least healthy color present.  If the wound is red and yellow, the wound would be classified as a yellow wound.








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