Biofilm In Chronic Wounds

By July 19, 2019Wound Care
Biofilm In Chronic Wounds Reading Time: 3 minutes

Chronic wound care is a specialized area in the healthcare arena. A chronic wound is one that doesn’t heal properly or completely as a result on ongoing inflammation, colonization and/or infection. Wounds that don’t heal within three months are generally considered chronic wounds. There’s a complex relationship between chronic wounds and biofilm. Let’s have a look at what biofilm is and how to treat it in the area chronic would care.

What Are Biofilms?

A biofilm is a microbial community of cells mostly made up of bacteria and fungi. As biofilms grow, they become more visible and often take on the appearance of a shiny film. The reality is that most chronic wounds contain bacteria and fungi that are housed within a biofilm. The hallmark feature of a biofilm is its secretion of EPS (extracellular polymeric substances). Think of the EPS layer as a kind of house that the bacteria and fungi live in and form a protective boundary around the wound. This EPS layer adds to the aggressive nature of biofilm and requires an effective treatment plan in allowing a chronic wound to take the correct path towards healing.

The Biofilm Relationship To Chronic Wound Care

Biofilms are a major contributor to diseases that are characterized by an underlying bacterial infection and chronic inflammation. Biofilms play a role in preventing a chronic wound recovery by delaying the healing process. They do this creating a protected environment for bacteria and fungi to flourish. Biofilms have been reported to be a major contributing factor to multiple chronic inflammatory diseases and so this these needs to be addressed in the sphere of wound care.

Effective Wound Treatment For Biofilms

Biofilms tend to be resistant to therapeutic treatment. This is particularly true around the 48-96-hour mark after their formation. An effective treatment strategy is to repeatedly attack these biofilms on a consistent schedule with debridements. This forces biofilm to have to reattach and regenerate. It’s during this process that biofilm becomes more susceptible to treatments such as antibiotics and host defense mechanisms. Another key strategy is to identify the bacteria and fungi that make up the particular biofilm. This can be done by using a method known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This helps to increase the effectiveness of antibiotics against the bacteria and fungi formations by identifying the kinds of bacteria and fungi that are present in the wound. This treatment option combination results in a more targeted and effective treatment to eliminate biofilm. Another challenge is that biofilm tends to burrow below the surface by spreading along perivascular channels. The use of ultrasound or shockwave therapy may need to be used over and above surgical debridement in dealing with a burrowing biofilm.

Prevent Biofilms Early On

Wounds have a tendency to be left unchecked and this is what contributes to the formation of biofilm. If a wound is stagnating and not healing, this is a tell-tale sign that there could be a biofilm present. Another visible sign is if you can see a shiny film covering your wound. Make sure that you also get your wound cleaned and debrided regularly. A barrier dressing combined with some topical broad spectrum antimicrobials can help to reduce the risk of recontamination of the wound or slow down the growth of the biofilm. Biofilm can multiply incredibly quickly, and so it’s not wise to take their care into your own hands. Make sure that you consult a wound care specialist to inspect and treat your wounds early on.

Get Specialized Treatment

If you have a chronic wound, it’s important to get specialized wound care. RegenQuest provides specialized and advanced wound care for a wide range of medical conditions including biofilm. Biofilms can be effectively treated by implementing an individualized treatment plan to facilitate healing.