As healing as fast

Do wounds in children really heal faster than in adults?

It is not uncommon for children to get injured while playing. A scratch there, a scratch there and within a few days it's history - but do wounds really heal faster in children than in adults? The medical director of the Asklepios West Clinic in Hamburg gives the answer.

Hamburg. Small injuries and wounds such as a cut on the finger or a graze occur again and again in everyday life. They usually heal within a few days without major consequences. In the case of children, this should even go particularly quickly. Is that correct? Does wound healing really take place at a faster pace in children than in adults? "No," says Wolfgang Tigges, medical director of the Asklepios West Clinic in Hamburg.

"Wounds do not heal any differently or faster in children than in adults." In all people, the wound healing proceeds basically according to the same principle and at the same speed: If we cut ourselves, the escaping blood coagulates first and forms a kind of makeshift seal for the wound. Certain components of the blood produce growth factors. "These attract cells and promote the formation of new tissue and vessels," explains the surgeon.

Small wounds often heal within a few days

From about the second day onwards, new connective tissue gradually grows again from dried blood under the scab, and later new skin surface also emerges from the edge of the wound. If healing proceeds without complications, the incision is closed after a few days. If it was just a small, smooth skin incision or a superficial abrasion, after the injury has healed, nothing can usually be seen.

With larger wounds, for example after an operation, or with deep, wide injuries, the body often fails to restore everything completely to the way it was before - a scar forms. Whether small or large wounds, the basic processes are always the same in children and adults, says Tigges.

There are fewer complications in children

There is, however, one difference, as Tigges explains: "In children, complications during wound healing occur less often." Their injuries become inflamed far less often, and chronic, extremely slow-healing injuries are rare.

In the elderly, on the other hand, this is much more common. Because such problems often delay wound healing in adults, uncomplicated healing in children then appears to us to be particularly fast. But why do injuries in children heal so easily?

"This is mainly due to the fact that they do not have a large number of risk factors," explains Tigges. You have not yet had any circulatory disorders, immune deficiencies or diabetes that would hinder wound healing. Many older people also have to take medication that slows down the body's own repair system. As a rule, these problems do not yet exist in children, which is why wounds usually heal in them without major complications. (dapd)