Guided surgical debridement: Staining tissues with methylene blue

Amir H. Dorafshar, Marina Gitman, Ginard Henry, Shailesh Agarwal, Lawrence J. Gottlieb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Precise surgical debridement of wounds is required to achieve wound closure. The authors describe their experience with a technique using topical methylene blue to facilitate precise surgical debridement. In this technique, methylene blue dye is applied topically to the wound surface at the onset of surgery. The stained wound site is then wiped to remove dye from the surface of normal epithelium; eschar, nonviable tissue, and granulation tissue remain stained. The methylene blue-stained tissue is surgically removed, and the newly debrided surface of the wound is assessed for adequate vascularity and biopsied to verify presence of bacteriologic balance before closure. The authors have used this technique in more than 200 wound debridements during the past year, including acute surgical or traumatic wounds, acute and subacute burn wounds, chronic granulating wounds, partially epithelialized wounds, sinus tracts, and fistulae. No adverse reactions have been noted, even on patients undergoing multiple applications through serial operations. Topical application of methylene blue to wounds with mixed tissue content helps to distinguish between viable and nonviable tissue and between epithelialized and nonepithelialized areas, facilitating more precise and complete wound debridement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-794
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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