Irreversible Electroporation as an Alternative to Wound Debridement Surgery

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Debridement is a standard part of wound care that is used on both acute and chronic wounds. Current methods of wound debridement include: autolytic based on the natural immune response, surgical, enzy-matic based on application of exogenous proteases, mechanical using water jets and ultrasound, and biologi-cal using live organisms such as maggots. The choice of individual methods involves a trade-off between speed of treatment, selectivity, and pain. Irreversible electroporation via the application of pulsed electric fields has been used as a novel approach for deep tissue ablation, sometimes in conjunction with chemother-apy, as in the case of tumors, and also in cases where high precision is needed in otherwise very fragile tis-sues, such as for treating diabetic neuropathy and in epicardial atrial ablation. This method could be readily extended to wound care as it is both rapid and relatively painless, and it is also effective at decreasing bacterial load and clearing biofilms. Furthermore, the process primarily targets cells leaving the extracellular matrix relatively intact, thus providing a suitable natural scaffold for host cellular invasion and regrowth. A unique aspect of the use of pulsed electric fields is that around the region where ablation is perfomed, electric fields of lower energy are dissipated into the healthy tissue. There is a range of electric fields that are known to stimulate cellular functions, in particular migration and proliferation, and that may contribute to the healing process after electroporation. While irreversible electroporation is a potentially useful alternative to other debridement methods, future clinical application awaits technological advances in electrode design that will enable precise delivery of the therapy in wounds of various sizes and depths.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1452
JournalSurgical technology international
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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