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Do You Have a Wound That Won’t Heal?

November 29, 2011

Washington Hospital Seminar Focuses on Latest Treatments

Do you have a wound that won’t heal? A wound that has been present for more than six weeks is considered a chronic wound and may need special treatment.

“It’s important to understand the underlying cause of the wound and treat that,” said Dr. Prasad Kilaru, a plastic surgeon and director of the Washington Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine. “When we treat wounds, we don’t just consider the wound itself, we look at the whole person.”

Kilaru will present “Wound Care and the Latest Treatment Options” on Tuesday, December 6, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The free seminar will be held at the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, located at 2500 Mowry Avenue (Washington West) in Fremont. You can register online at www.whhs.com or call (800) 963-7070 for more information.

He will talk about the three most common causes of chronic wounds and some of the advanced treatment options that are available at the Washington Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine, which offers state-of-the-art wound care. 

“The most common underlying issues related to chronic wounds are diabetes, poor circulation, and pressure like you see with bed sores,” Kilaru said. “These issues need to be treated along with the wound.”

Treating the Cause

Diabetes raises the risk for chronic wounds for a number of reasons. High blood sugar associated with diabetes can damage blood vessels and capillaries and impede the healing process, he said.

“The white blood cells don’t work as well when blood sugar is high, which prevents them from fighting infection,” Kilaru explained. “High levels of blood sugar also provide food for the bacteria, which makes them harder to kill. It’s very important for people with diabetes to keep their blood sugar under control.”

Many people with diabetes also have nerve damage, which causes them to lose sensation. Often they can’t feel sores, which allows them to get worse before they are noticed, Kilaru added. 

Poor circulation in the veins and arteries can make it difficult for wounds to heal, according to Kilaru. The circulation needs to be improved before wounds will heal properly.

“Poor circulation is caused by blockages in the veins and arteries,” Kilaru said. “These blockages are common in the leg. We do an ultrasound or angiogram to determine where the blockage is and then put in a stent if the blockage is accessible, or we may need to do a bypass.”

Pressure sores generally occur in people who are bedridden. They need to be in a bed with proper support and be turned periodically to alleviate pressure on the sores. Eating a nutritious diet with plenty of protein is also important, according to Kilaru.

State-of-the-Art Care

“We offer a number of advanced wound care techniques to enhance healing,” he said. “We are having a lot of success with skin substitutes and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.” 

With hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the patient breathes pure oxygen inside a pressurized chamber. The chamber has clear sides to avoid feeling closed in.

“High concentrations of oxygen get into the bloodstream, which helps to increase the body’s own natural wound-healing capabilities,” he said.

The Washington Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine also uses vacuum devices that literally suck excess fluid off the wound. Kilaru said it helps to speed up the healing process. 

The wound center uses a team approach that focuses on treating the underlying causes while healing the wound.

“We have a team of health care professionals and specialists who focus on different aspects of wound care,” Kilaru said. “The goal is to educate and empower patients so we can catch wounds early.”

Learn More About Wound Care

Coping with chronic, non-healing wounds can be both frustrating and time-consuming, but expert care is available to help improve healing and your quality of life. At the Washington Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine, the professional staff is highly trained in the specialized comprehensive care of problem wounds, using the most up-to-date approaches in the science of wound care. For more information about the Washington Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine, visit www.whhs.com/wound.

 

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