See also the post, “Growth in wound management from trends in prevalence, technology to 2024.”
Wound prevalence, trends, and clinical practice patterns impacting wound management markets are the subject of MedMarket Diligence reports in 2013, 2015, and the forthcoming 2017 Report #S254, “Worldwide Wound Management, Forecast to 2026: Established and Emerging Products, Technologies and Markets in the Americas, Europe, Asia/Pacific and Rest of World.”
Surgical wounds account for the vast majority of skin injuries. We estimate that globally there are over 100 million surgical incisions a year, growing at 3.1% CAGR, that require some wound management treatment. Approximately 80% of these wounds use some form of closure product: sutures, staples, and tapes. Many employ hemostasis products, and use fabric bandages and surgical dressings.
Surgical procedures generate a preponderance of acute wounds with uneventful healing and a lower number of chronic wounds, such as those generated by wound dehiscence or postoperative infection. Surgical wounds are most often closed by primary intention, where the two sides across the incision line are brought close and mechanically held together. Overall the severity and size of surgical wounds will continue to decrease as a result of the continuing trend toward minimally invasive surgery.
Surgical wounds that involve substantial tissue loss or may be infected are allowed to heal by secondary intention where the wound is left open under dressings and allowed to fill by granulation and close by epithelialization. Some surgical wounds may be closed through delayed primary intention where they are left open until such time as it is felt it is safe to suture or glue the wound closed.
Traumatic wounds occur at the rate of 50 million or more every year worldwide. They require cleansing and treatment with low-adherent dressings to cover the wound, prevent infection, and allow healing by primary intention.
Lacerations are a specific type of trauma wound that are generally minor in nature and require cleansing and dressing for a shorter period. There are approximately 20 million lacerations a year, as a result of cuts and grazes; they can usually be treated in the doctors’ surgery, outpatient medical center or hospital A&E departments.
Burn wounds can be divided into minor burns, medically treated, and hospitalized cases. Outpatient burn wounds are often treated at home, at the doctor’s surgery, or at outpatient clinics. As a result a large number of these wounds never enter the formal health service system. We estimate that approximately 3.5 million burns in this category do enter the outpatient health service system and receive some level of medical attention. These burns are treated using hydrogels and advanced wound care products, and they may even be treated with consumer-based products for wound healing.
Medically treated burn wounds usually receive more informed care to remove heat from the tissue, maintain hydration, and prevent infection. Advanced wound care products are used for these wounds. There are approximately 6.0 million burns like this that are treated medically every year.
Hospitalized burn wounds are more rare and require more advanced and expensive care. These victims require significant care, nutrition, debridement, tissue grafting and often tissue engineering where available. They also require significant follow-up care and rehabilitation to mobilize new tissue, and physiotherapy to address changes in physiology. Growth rates within the burns categories are approximately 1.0% per annum.
Chronic wounds generally take longer to heal, and care is enormously variable, as is the time to heal. There are approximately 4.5 million pressure ulcers in the world that require treatment every year. Many chronic wounds around the world are treated sub-optimally with general wound care products designed to cover and absorb some exudates. The optimal treatment for these wounds is to receive advanced wound management products and appropriate care to address the underlying defect that has caused the chronic wound; in the case of pressure ulcers a number of advanced devices exist to reduce pressure for patients. There are approximately 9.7 million venous ulcers, and approximately 10.0 million diabetic ulcers in the world requiring treatment. Chronic wounds are growing in incidence due to the growing age of the population, and the growth is also due to increasing awareness and improved diagnosis. Growth rates for pressure and venous ulcers are 6%–7% in the developed world as a result of these factors.
Diabetic ulcers are growing more rapidly due mainly to increased incidence of both Type I and maturity-onset diabetes in the developed (high-GDP) countries around the world. The prevalence of diabetic ulcers is rising at 9% annually. At present, this pool of patients is growing faster than the new technologies are reducing the incidence of wounds by healing them.
Wound management products are also used for a number of other conditions including amputations, carcinomas, melanomas, and other complicated skin cancers, which are all on the increase.
A significant feature of all wounds is the likelihood of pathological infection occurring. Surgical wounds are no exception, and average levels of infection of surgical wounds are in the range 7%–10% dependent on the procedure. These infections can be prevented by appropriate cleanliness, surgical discipline and skill, wound care therapy, and antibiotic prophylaxis. Infections usually lead to more extensive wound care time, the use of more expensive products and drugs, significantly increased therapist time, and increased morbidity and rehabilitation time. A large number of wounds will also be sutured to accelerate closure, and a proportion of these will undergo dehiscence and require aftercare for healing to occur.
Estimated Prevalence, Growth and Healing of Various Wound Types 2011
Worldwide Prevalence (Thousands)
Healing Time (Days)
|Complicated skin cancer|
Note: *Pressure, venous/arterial and diabetic.
Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #S190 and Report #S251.
(See the forthcoming 2017 Report #S254, “Worldwide Wound Management, Forecast to 2026: Established and Emerging Products, Technologies and Markets in the Americas, Europe, Asia/Pacific and Rest of World.” Order online.)
See also the July 2016 Report #S290, “Worldwide Sealants, Glues, Hemostats, 2015-2022.”