Help for Hard to Heal Wounds
Some wounds (any type of break in the skin) heal on their own with a bandage and a little patience, but those that don't heal normally require specialized and aggressive medical treatment. If a wound doesn’t improve after four weeks, or does not heal within eight weeks, it is considered a non-healing wound.
Non-healing wounds can cause deeper skin erosion, infection and complications which can be damaging to organs and limbs, and even be life threatening — especially for those with diabetes and heart conditions.
The specialists at the Wound Care Center at Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center are trained to evaluate and treat a variety of wounds on an outpatient basis, including:
- Pressure sores (stages 1, 2, 3 and 4)
- Ulcers (neuropathic, diabetic foot and others)
- Surgical incisions
- Venous stasis wounds
- Ischemic wounds (occur when there is poor blood flow in the legs)
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD) wounds (learn about free PAD screenings)
Typical treatments include removing unhealthy tissue, oral medication as well as topical solutions. The team also provides evaluations for those who have been recommended for amputation. Wound care is a key component to limb loss prevention and in some cases, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help prevent amputation.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
The air we breathe consists of 21 percent oxygen at an air pressure of approximately 14.7 pounds per square inch. During hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBT), a patient lies in a clear acrylic chamber and breathes 100 percent oxygen at pressures two to three times the atmosphere's normal pressure. This allows the body to absorb more oxygen than normal. As a result, oxygen-rich blood flows to a wound site, speeding the wound healing process and leading to a number of benefits such as decreased swelling, the formation of new micro blood vessels and increased protection against infection.
Conditions that respond most favorably to HBT are bone infections that do not respond to standard treatment, crush injuries and reattachment of severed limbs, deep tissue injury from radiation therapy, peripheral artery disease and skin grafts or flaps that are not healing.
HBT is available Monday through Friday at the Wound Care Center at Desert Springs Hospital. Sessions last about two hours and patients can listen to music, watch TV or take a nap while in the chamber.