Débridement, as employed surgically, has been defined as an incision of a wound made with the view of facilitating the discharge of pus. It might be more properly defined as the excision of the devitalized tissues or débris resulting from the action of any traumatizing force, with the view of preventing the development of infection.
Excision of devitalized tissue has always been practiced to some extent in traumatic surgery. It was, however, not practiced to any great extent at the beginning of the war because of the teachings of military surgeons which were based on the experiences gained in previous wars. As the result of observations made in these wars, gunshot wounds when first received were treated conservatively and active surgical interference was postponed until infection had developed.
Two factors in the recent war made necessary the return to débridement which was advised and rather extensively employed by Larrey in