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Wound Care

The Condition

Open wounds of the skin and underlying soft tissue are also commonly referred to as ulcers. Ulcers are commonly seen in patients who have diabetes, neuropathy or vascular disease. Open wounds increase the risk of developing infections of the skin, soft tissues and bone. Symptoms may include drainage, odor, or red, inflamed, thickened tissue. Pain may or may not be present.

The Treatment

Ulcers are treated by removing unhealthy tissue and performing local wound care to promote healing. Treatment methods vary depending upon the underlying cause of the ulcer and the location. In severe cases, surgery or other advanced treatments may be necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

They can be caused by excess pressure due to ill-fitting shoes, spending long periods in bed, or after an injury that breaks the skin.
Yes. Any perforation through the skin’s protective barrier allows bacteria and other sources of infection to invade the tissues causing further disease and damage. If infection is present, antibiotics will be necessary.
Clinical examination of the ulcer is necessary for diagnosis. Evaluation may include plain film radiographs (X-rays) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to evaluate possible bone involvement. Other advanced imaging studies may also be ordered to evaluate for vascular disease, which may affect a patient’s ability to heal the wound.
The role of wound care is to expedite the body’s healing of the injured tissue to avoid infection and further damage. Wound care involves a comprehensive, multidisciplinary team approach to identifying the cause and solution to the ulcer(s) present. There are many different wound care products available commercially that can help physicians and patients achieve their wound closure goal. Other methods of treatment include hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT), negative pressure vacuum assisted wound closure (VAC), and the use of other advanced modalities.