Skin in the game: Venous ulcers require specialized treatment
1/31/2016 11:36 AM
Venous ulcers are shallow wounds, most frequently found in the legs, that are instigated by trauma. They fail to heal due to improper functioning of venous valves, leading to slowed venous blood circulation, leg swelling and persistent draining ulcers that can be painful, debilitating and resistant to normal healing.
Dr. Patrick Kimbrell explains, “We begin with a careful evaluation of the patient and wounds, usually followed by removing any dead tissue and bacteria from the wound through the process of gentle debridement. We then apply gradient compression to the leg in order to control swelling and help return normal circulation, preventing new ulcers, healing present ulcers and reducing pain.”
There are several gradient compression options ranging from modern elastic bandages to zinc oxide wraps. If the wound has an infection, an antibiotic treatment can be prescribed. When the patient returns home it’s important for them to avoid any trauma to the wound. The wound care team works to educate each patient on the best way to protect the healing wound during daily activities.
Primary care doctors and surgeons refer venous edema and ulcer patients to the CTMC Institute for Advanced Wound Healing, because the team has experience in dealing with all range of wounds as well as the specialized knowledge, equipment and therapeutic tools.
The wound doctors partner with referring doctors to get their patients through the wound recovery period and back to their normal activities. The CTMC Wound Team has accomplished a greater than 95% healing rate of these ulcer types at 33 days, much higher than the typical recovery rates of six to twelve months.
Referrals can be made to the CTMC Institute for Advanced Wound Healing by calling 512.353.6430 or faxing 512.353.6431.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
About 15% of wound patients seen at CTMC’s Institute for Advanced Wound Healing will benefit and respond to the addition of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The facility has three hyperbaric chambers for those treatments.
In the hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber the atmospheric pressure is increased to two times that of normal atmospheric pressure while breathing 100% oxygen. Your blood carries this elevated oxygen throughout your body, which help stimulate healing and fight bacteria. The therapy can help provide one of more of the following:
• Increased oxygen to injured tissue
• Preservation of damaged tissue
• Greater blood vessel formation
• Improved infection control
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