Chronic wounds are wounds that heal improperly due to an underlying illness and/or infection. Generally, chronic wounds are described as showing no significant progress towards healing after three months. Advanced wounds can be painful and stressful ordeals. Luckily, there are non-surgical treatment options available to begin the healing process. These include Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, (HBOT) compression therapy, and many more depending on the etiology of the wound. It’s important to find the treatment best suited for your condition.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
HBOT involves pumping pure oxygen, (100% oxygen) into a pressurized chamber. The air pressure is increased to over three times that of normal air. This allows the oxygen to be diluted into the liquid part of the blood. This can only be achieved under pressure. The increased oxygen level is highly beneficial for tissues that need a sustainable concentration of oxygen to function.
The benefits of HBOT extend beyond wound healing. Outcomes can also include infection control, and swelling reduction to name a few. Studies have shown that HBOT can help with a variety of ailments including but not limited to:
- Severe Anemia
- Infections that cause tissue death
- Radiation Injury
HBOT is readily performed as an outpatient procedure. For most conditions, the therapy lasts no more than 120 minutes depending on the treatment protocol.
Compression therapy manages wounds by applying gentle pressure to the ankles and legs. This is done by wearing special stockings. The stockings work to gradually elongate the vein walls, improving circulation throughout the lower limbs. In compression therapy, the stockings perform like a muscle, adding pressure to areas with low blood flow in the limbs. This relaxes the veins and reduces overall pain in the lower body.
The usual candidates for compression therapy are patients with chronic venous disease. Chronic venous disease can lead to ongoing complications without effective treatment. Reviewing your condition with a medical provider is the best way to decide if compression therapy is a viable approach. The severity of blood flow constriction is a factor in determining the degree of compression a stocking should have.
Total Contact Casting (TCC)
A total contact cast redistributes weight throughout the sole of the foot. The cast is designed to securely fit around the foot and leg. This protects tissue on the plantar aspect of the foot. Depending on the model, a total contact cast can remove over 90% of pressure from an ulcer site.
TCC is frequently used by patients that have diabetes. Complications such as neuropathy can lead to sores on the foot. However, if minor sores aren’t treated, they become ulcers. It’s best to speak with a medical professional beforehand since infection can impact the effectiveness of this treatment.
Specialty Dressings and Wraps
There is a wide array of dressings available to treat a range of needs. Finding the appropriate dressing can be done by evaluating your condition. Dressing solutions are also dependent on concerns such as odor, discomfort, moisture, and exposure.
Specialty dressings can be separated into broad categories based on healing needs:
- Absorptive Dressings (Moisture Control)
- Anti-Bacterial Dressings
- Compression Bandages
- Collagen and Silicone Dressings
One or several of these treatments may be better suited in dealing with an injury.
Topical medications include oils, sprays, and creams, designed to improve wound healing and reduce discomfort. Topical medications can also provide moisture to the wound site and reduce odor. In some cases, topical agents will support autolytic debridement.
A provider will recommend the appropriate topical agent based on your condition, and the length of your management protocol
Along with proper treatment, adequate nutrition is essential for wound healing. During healing, its vital for the body to have access to an ideal number of vitamins, proteins, and calories. Eating the right combination of nutrients can ensure that your body remains on the path to healing. Following a prescribed diet not only promotes wound healing but also reduces the chances of later complications.
Finding the Right Treatment Option
HBOT can be combined with one or several other non-surgical forms of treatment. At RegenQuest we are dedicated to providing specialized wound care. Schedule a consultation to assess the best treatment for your needs.