To the Editor.—When we read the article by Basadre and Parry1 in the January 1991 issue of the Archives, we were unsure of the exact surgical technique used in "surgical débridement" in the description of their cases.
The term débridement has evolved from the French language, in which it means "to remove constriction by incision."2 However, Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary3 defines débridement as "the removal of foreign material and devitalized or contaminated tissue from or adjacent to a traumatic or infected lesion until surrounding healthy tissue is exposed." Most American surgeons use the term to mean roughly what Dorland's suggests: basically a wound excision vs a wound incision implied in the French definition.
Basadre and Parry1 recommend "operative débridement" for patients presenting 7 days after injury, and reported "negative surgical exploration" when no pus was found. This description seems quite close to the original French