What Is a Debriding Agent?

A debriding agent is a substance that removes dead tissue or debris from a wound to allow effective healing. Debridement minimizes the risk of infection and stops the spread of unhealthy tissue or infection. Some examples of debriding agents include Accuzyme, Xenaderm and Panafil.

While most debriding agents are chemical, other types include mechanical, surgical and autolytic (or self-digesting). In some cases, live maggots from the green bottle fly are introduced to a wound, where they selectively ingest only necrotic or infected tissue, leaving behind healthy tissue. This takes three to four days, after which the maggots must be removed to prevent them from ingesting healthy tissue.