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Do You Have a Wound that Won't Heal?

April 03, 2012

Center for Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine Offers Free Screening Clinic

Most of the time, the human body can heal wounds on its own with a little self-help in the form of keeping the wound clean and properly dressed. For some people, though, various factors such as circulatory problems, diabetes and infections can disrupt the healing process, and their wounds become chronic.

"A chronic wound is usually defined as one that has not healed within six weeks," says plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Prasad Kilaru, medical director of the Washington Center for Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine. "In some cases, however, patients should not wait six weeks before seeking treatment. For example, if they are elderly or if they have diabetes, poor blood circulation or an infection of a wound, it's advisable to start treatment before a wound becomes chronic."

The Center for Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine specializes in determining why difficult wounds aren't healing and what treatments may be required to promote faster healing and avoid further complications. The center also provides expert care for serious acute wounds and burns. In addition to Dr. Kilaru, the multi-disciplinary team of wound-care experts at the Center for Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine includes vascular surgeons, a general surgeon, a podiatrist, an infectious disease physician and a urologist. The center's nurses and medical technicians all have extensive, specific training in wound treatment.

To provide people in the community over the age of 14 with free evaluations of chronic wounds, the center is offering a screening clinic with brief examinations by physicians and nurses on Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to noon. Wound treatments and prescriptions will not be included with the screenings, but the physicians will provide recommendations for follow-up care. Other physicians assisting Dr. Kilaru at the screening clinic include vascular surgeon Dr. John Thomas Mehigan and general surgeon Dr. Kranthi Achanta.

The center is located at 39141 Civic Center Drive in Fremont. Scheduling an appointment is strongly recommended to allow adequate screening time for all patients, and the clinic hours may be extended if enough patients request appointments. To schedule an appointment for the free screening clinic, please call (800) 963-7070.

"Physician referral is not required for the screening clinic," says Program Coordinator Carrie Lanz, MBA. "We also don't require physician referrals for regular appointments, but we do prefer to have a physician referral for our regular patients. That's because we like to work with our patients' primary care physicians to coordinate patient care, especially if the patient has underlying conditions such as diabetes or poor blood circulation that contribute to poor wound healing. We also work with our patients to determine what treatments would be covered by their health insurance providers."

Dr. Kilaru notes that the three most common types of chronic wounds treated at the center include:

  • Diabetic ulcers, particularly on the lower legs and feet
  • Ulcers related to blood circulation problems
  • Pressure ulcers, also known as "bed sores"

Some other less-common wounds treated at the center include wounds resulting from complications of radiation therapy for cancer, non-healing surgical sites for skin grafts or other reconstructive surgeries, infections in the bone known as osteomylitis, and wounds complicated by an autoimmune disorder called vasculitis that causes inflammation of the blood vessels.

"We provide the most advanced therapies available for wound care," says Dr. Kilaru. "For example, our hyperbaric oxygen therapy can make a big difference in patients who have a compromised blood supply, providing 100 percent pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber to stimulate faster healing. Additional advances in wound therapies include the use of growth factors and cultured skin substitutes that can be used to replace and heal injured skin."

For more information about the Washington Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine, visit www.whhs.com/wound. To schedule a regular appointment, call 888-44-WOUND (888-449-6863).

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