Our skin is the largest organ in our body and also the most susceptible to injury. Most wounds are minor and can easily be cleaned and treated at home.
How Are Open Wounds Classified?
Wounds are categorized into 3 main types:
- Superficial – where there is only loss of epidermis.
- Partial thickness – This involves both dermis and epidermis.
- Full thickness – the most serious, this involves dermis, subcutaneous fat and sometimes even bone.
Wounds can also be further categorized by the cause of injury:
- Abrasions – They are the result of a rub or scrape on a rough surface.
- Lacerations – A deep cut or skin tear, usually caused by a knife or tools. Bleeding is usually rapid and severe. Medical attention is usually required.
- Puncture – A hole in the skin caused by a long, thin, pointy object. Bullets are also known to cause puncture wounds.
- Avulsion – A partial or complete tearing away of the skin. The injured person will bleed rapidly and heavily. This type of wound is usually caused by explosions or gunshots and immediate medical attention is required.
Traditional Wound Care
Traditional would care involves the use of basic products like gauze, lint, and band aids, and these would suffice for non-severe wounds. The aim of traditional would care is to:
- Absorb fluids
- Stop any bleeding
- Protect the wound from further harm
- Prevent the wound from getting infected
More severe wounds may require products like film, foam, hydrogel, alginates, hydrocolloids and negative pressure wound therapy that will:
- Keep the wound temperature constant
- Protect the wound from infection
- Remove dead tissue
- Draw out excess fluid and stimulate blood flow
- Ease pain during dressing changes
Advanced Wound Care
Serious, non-healing wounds require more than the traditional wound care. Wounds need oxygen to heal, and our bodies naturally supply wounds with oxygen via red blood cells. The problem arises when oxygen cannot reach the specific areas due to insufficient arterial circulation or swelling, and the result of this is a long term, non-healing wound.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) enhances and accelerates the body’s natural healing ability, by allowing oxygen normally in red blood cells, to be dissolved in the plasma, allowing it to be transported to areas where circulation is compromised. It also enhances white blood cells that kill bacteria, helps reduce swelling, and is instrumental in new blood vessels forming off the affected area. Wounds that greatly benefit from HBOT are:
- Burns, especially thermal burns
- Bone fractures
- Acute traumatic injuries like crush injuries
- Diabetic non healing wounds
- Necrotizing soft tissue infections
- Radiation tissue damage
- Some skin grafts and flaps
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Simply put, HBOT is where 100% oxygen is delivered to the patient, laying in the sealed, HBOT chamber, at a controlled, higher than normal pressure, for a period of 60 to 90 minutes. The chamber is then slowly depressurized and the patient is removed from the chamber. Depending on the type of and severity of the wound, the patient may require between 10-40 treatments.
While in the chamber the patient is encouraged to breathe normally, and listen to music or watch TV. They can see and communicate with their therapist at all times as the chamber is clear, so even people who suffer from claustrophobia can manage this treatment.
At RegenQuest we work directly with the patient or primary care provider. After a comprehensive patient assessment where we carry out tests to establish the cause of the wound, we formulate a patient specific individual treatment plan and also provide nutritional counseling. We are free standing – not hospital based. To accommodate our patients, we also provide our service for extended hours and on weekends.
If you have a chronic, non-healing wound and all traditional methods of care have not assisted healing, contact us at RegenQuest and see for yourself why HBOT is now considered advanced wound care.