Wound healing and treating wounds: Differential diagnosis and evaluation of chronic wounds

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016 Apr;74(4):589-605; quiz 605-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2015.08.068.


Wounds are an excellent example of how the field of dermatology represents a cross-section of many medical disciplines. For instance, wounds may be caused by trauma, vascular insufficiency, and underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and rheumatologic and inflammatory disease. This continuing medical education article provides an overview of wound healing and the pathophysiology of chronic wounds and reviews the broad differential diagnosis of chronic wounds. It also describes the initial steps necessary in evaluating a chronic wound and determining its underlying etiology.

Keywords: chronic wound differential diagnosis; chronic wound evaluation; chronic wound work-up; chronic wounds; wound healing; wound pathophysiology.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dermatologic Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Diabetic Foot / diagnosis
  • Diabetic Foot / surgery
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pressure Ulcer / diagnosis
  • Pressure Ulcer / surgery
  • Prognosis
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Skin Diseases, Vascular / diagnosis
  • Skin Diseases, Vascular / surgery*
  • Wound Healing / physiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Wounds and Injuries / surgery*