Nearly seven million Americans are living with a wound that needs a little extra care to heal. This is where our team of specialists at Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk, Nebraska can help you.
What are Chronic and Non-healing Wounds?
We all experience the occasional nicks and cuts from time to time. Most of the time, your wounds heal naturally within four to six weeks. Sometimes a wound gets stalled in one of the stages of healing. This could be caused by infections, lack of oxygen, chronic swelling and diabetes, or other reasons.
If you have a wound, cut, or burn that has not started healing within two weeks or not finished healing within six weeks, you may benefit from seeing a wound specialist.
Types of Chronic Wounds
At Faith Regional, our team of wound care specialists and wound technicians are expertly trained in caring for your complicated and non-healing wounds, including:
Arterial Ulcers result from a decreased blood flow to your tissues. These chronic wounds are typically located below your knee but are most often found on the tips of toes, between the toes, and below the ankles.
Our wound care providers can treat your arterial ulcers with patient education, lifestyle modification recommendations, and, in some cases, surgery.
Diabetic foot ulcers are one of the most common complications affecting patients with diabetes. One in four people with diabetes will develop a lower extremity ulcer. Diabetic ulcers are deep wounds with hardened skin around the edges, low to moderate drainage, and structural changes to your foot.
Our wound care providers can treat your diabetic ulcers with patient education, diabetes, nutritional support, topical wound care, and special shoe inserts if there have been structural changes to your foot. Our specialists may also recommend you be non-weight bearing to allow your wound to heal and debridement or surgery if needed.
An infected wound occurs when germs grow in the damaged skin. Symptoms of an infected wound can include increased pain, swelling, pus, fever, or chills, among others.
Pressure Ulcers occur when your skin is pressed against your bone due to sitting or lying down for an extended period of time. Pressure ulcers typically occur in an area with a bony presence, such as your heel, hip, or spine.
Venous Ulcers occur when your veins fail to return enough blood to your heart, causing blood to pool in your legs. Venous ulcers are typically found between the knee and ankle and cause heavy to moderate drainage, swelling, and pain.
Our wound care providers treat venous ulcers with compression and encourage you to elevate your legs throughout the day and avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time. If these home treatments do not work, our specialists may recommend other procedures performed by them.
We’ll create a treatment plan to help you heal. Your treatment may include:
Bio-Engineered Tissue Substitutes
Your wound will be covered with synthetic tissue to help protect the area and promote healing.
A numbing gel will be placed on the top of your wound to control your pain. Your provider will then clean the dead tissue off the wound and apply a special dressing.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
Your provider may recommend Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to help heal your chronic wound.
HBOT enables you to breathe 100% oxygen. This is two to three times greater than what’s in the atmosphere. The result is an increase in plasma oxygen concentration which encourages new blood vessels to form. As these new blood vessels develop, red blood cells will deliver even more oxygen to the affected area and create an optimal environment for the body’s natural healing process to repair the damaged tissue.
What to Expect When Receiving HBOT
You’ll come to our Advanced Wound Center every weekday. You’ll be provided a pair of scrubs to change into and invited to relax in one of our clear pressurized chambers. You’re welcome to watch television or take a nap during the treatment. Each treatment lasts approximately two and a half hours.
The whole time, you’ll be monitored by one of our expertly trained technicians who work in collaboration with our onsite providers.
Fun fact: HBOT has long been used to help deep-sea divers recover from the bends. Today, this technology is used for certain non-healing wounds, like some diabetic ulcers.
You may be prescribed medications to help speed your wound’s healing process.
Negative Pressure Wound Therapy
Also known as a vacuum-assisted closure. Your provider will use a device to create a negative pressure (a vacuum) on the wound. This can help remove excess fluids and increase blood flow to accelerate healing.
Most wound care services are covered by insurance.