For most people, wound healing is a natural, uneventful process. For others,
it can be a complex problem requiring specialized medical treatment. If
you suffer from a hard-to-heal wound, we may be able to help.
Our trained specialists follow a multidisciplinary approach to wound healing.
After an initial evaluation, each patient receives a comprehensive, individualized
plan designed to help heal these complicated wounds. We work to address
the underlying cause of the problem, control infection and improve the
overall health of our patients. We are committed to providing care with
dignity and respect, and we focus on the whole person by considering your
physical and emotional needs, because we know these are integral parts
of the healing process. Our staff will coordinate your care with your
primary care physician to ensure your overall well-being.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
At North Vista Hospital, we offer state-of-the-art hyperbaric oxygen therapy
to help heal wounds. Over the course of several treatments, many patients
achieve wound healing that is not otherwise possible using other methods.
Other wound treatment options include:
Specialty Wound Dressings
Medicines and dressings can sometimes encourage wounds to close and heal.
The removal of dead tissue around the wound, or debridement, is often
needed to clean the wound and promote healing.
Antibiotics are often used, even if an infection is not clearly present.
This is done to prevent an infection. Usually antibiotics are administered
for 4-6 weeks.
Alleviation of Weight-bearing Wounds
Keeping pressure off of foot ulcers promotes healing. Sometimes special
casts or boots are placed on the foot to "off-load" pressure
from the ulcer.
Blood Sugar Control
Infected ulcers are likely to cause high blood sugar levels. High blood
sugar levels lower immune response and prevent wound healing. Adjustments
in diet or medications can aid in fighting infections and healing wounds.
Sometimes insulin shots are needed in the short term to achieve optimal
blood sugar control.
A bio-engineered skin graft or human skin graft can be used to treat diabetic
foot ulcers which fail to heal with conventional treatments. Skin grafts
have been shown to speed up the healing process.
Bypass surgery to improve blood flow within the arteries of the legs may
help with wound healing and spare amputations. As a last resort, amputation
surgery may be needed to stop the spread of infection to the rest of the body
Types of Wounds
A resistant wound is simply a wound that will not heal using conventional
wound healing processes. Some of the most common wounds treated in our
Wound Center include:
Diabetic Foot Ulcers
These sores often occur on the feet of people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Up to 25% of people with diabetes develop foot problems. Diabetic foot
ulcers usually occur on the bottom of the foot. Diabetes can damage the
nerves of the legs and feet so that you may not feel a blister or sore
when it begins to appear. If undetected, the sore may become larger and
infected. This may lead to an amputation of a toe, a foot, or even a leg.
If you have diabetes and have any of the risk factors mentioned, tell
Lower Leg Ulcer
Lower leg ulcers are non-healing skin wounds on the lower leg, foot or
toes. Causes of leg ulcers include trauma to the skin, poor circulation,
smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and atherosclerosis
(a narrowing of a vessel). Atherosclerosis can be caused by Peripheral
Vascular Disease (PVD) which can affect the venous or arterial systems.
Venous Stasis Ulcers
Venous ulcers affect over half a million people in the United States every
year and account for 80 to 90% of all leg ulcers. Venous ulcers are located
below the knee and are primarily found on the inner part of the leg, just
above the ankle. These ulcers are common in patients who have a history
of leg swelling, varicose veins, or a history of blood clots in either
the superficial or the deep veins of the legs. Ulcers may affect one or
Arterial (Ischemic) Ulcers
Arterial ulcers are usually located on the feet and often occur on the
heels, tips of toes, between the toes where the toes rub against one another
or anywhere the bones may protrude and rub against bed sheets, socks or
shoes. Arterial ulcers also occur commonly in the nail bed if the toenail
cuts into the skin or if the patient has had recent aggressive toe nail
trimming or an ingrown toenail removed. Arterial ulcers are typically
very painful, especially at night, and dangling the feet over the side
of the bed often temporarily relieves this pain.
Bone infections are almost always caused by bacteria. Over time, the result
can be destruction of the bone itself. Bone infections may occur at any
age. Certain conditions increase the risk of developing such an infection,
including sickle cell anemia, injury, the presence of a foreign body (such
as a bullet or a screw placed to hold together a broken bone), intravenous
drug use (such as heroin), diabetes, kidney dialysis, surgical procedures
to bony areas, and untreated infections of tissue near a bone.
Gangrene is a complication of cell death (or necrosis) characterized by
the decay of body tissues, which become black and smell bad. It is caused
by infection, usually the result of insufficient blood supply, and is
often associated with diabetes and long-term smoking. This condition is
most common in the lower extremities. The best treatment for gangrene
is restoration of blood flow (revascularization) of the affected organ,
which can reverse some of the effects of necrosis and allow healing.
Skin Tears and Lacerations
A skin tear is a traumatic wound which separates the first several layers
of skin from one another. Skin lacerations are torn, ragged wounds that
involve deeper tissue and may require suturing to assist with closure
Radiation burns occur from exposure to radiation and can be as mild as
sunburn to burns caused by radiation used in the treatment of cancer.
Postoperative infections are caused by bacteria entering the surgical
incision area. Postoperative wound infections can delay recovery and increase
the length of a hospital stay. Multiple risk factors can contribute to
an increase in postoperative wound infection, including age, concurrent
diseases (such as diabetes), malnutrition, and other skin infections.
For more information about wound therapy, please call 702-657-5559.