How Untreated Chronic Wounds Cause Complications

By April 19, 2019Wound Care
Chronic Wounds Reading Time: 2 minutes

A chronic wound doesn’t follow the predictable stages of healing in the usual time frame. They are also resistant to standard healing methods. Living with chronic wounds and the pain, itchiness and sleep deprivation that they bring can be emotionally draining. Untreated chronic wounds can result in complications that prevent further healing, or cause other secondary conditions to arise.

Complications From Leaving An Advanced Wound Untreated

A chronic wound that is not treated can turn into something far more serious. These are some of the common complications to watch out for.

  • Infection

    If bacteria is left to multiply, it creates a colony which can lead to a localized infection. Untreated, a localized infection can spread to become a systemic infection where the whole body is affected. Sepsis occurs when these harmful micro-organisms spread throughout the blood and body tissue. This can lead to multi-organ dysfunction, and end up as a limb-or-life-threatening infection.


  • Osteomyelitis

    Osteomyelitis is a form of infection in chronic wounds that spreads from the tissue surrounding the wound, into bones below the wound site. Antibiotics are the first means of treatment. If the wound doesn’t respond, amputation may be required.


  • Gangrene And Tissue Necrosis

    Gangrene occurs when blood supply is cut off to body tissue for various reasons. Necrosis is the premature death of cells as a result of external factors such as infection, toxins or trauma. These factors cause the cell components to be digested by the enzymes that are released as a result of the oxygen and blood supply being cut off. Necrotic tissue is a chronic wound complication that refers to any tissue in the body in which many cells die in the same area. If this complication isn’t caught and treated early on, it may result in the need for surgical resection or amputation.


  • Macerated Tissue

    You’ll recognize macerated tissue by the wrinkled, pale or white ‘prune-like’ skin texture around the chronic wound, much the same as when you stayed in the bath too long as a child. Macerated tissues is a form of moisture-associated skin damage far more dangerous than soggy fingers, as the fluid causing the over-hydration of the skin comes from the advanced wound itself. It contains bacteria and other substances that can be caustic to the skin.


  • Edema and Periwound Edema

    Edema is the pooling of fluid in the tissues of the body. When this occurs around the site of an chronic wound, it not only slows healing, but can halt it or even cause other wounds to form. It can cause:

    • pain and stiffness
    • decreased mobility
    • an higher risk of infection
    • reduced blood flow
    • decreased elasticity of blood vessels
    • ulcers form in the affected skin
    • the breakdown of fragile skin around the wound
    • tightness around the wound that stops it closing and healing

How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) Can Help

One of the biggest factors that prevent healing of chronic wounds is poor circulation and low oxygen supply to the cells. Can you imagine how being able to supersaturate the blood and tissues with oxygen at a cellular level would assist the body to heal? That is exactly what HBOT does.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Wound Care are offered by RegenQuest as part of a medically supervised treatment plan for advanced wounds. With over 30 years of experience, our professional licensed medical staff will work with you and your physician to assess, diagnose and create an individualized treatment plan for you, drawing on a wide range of options for treatment.