The SOMC Wound Healing Center offers state-of-the-art wound healing for a variety of wound types, such as:
Diabetic ulcers are breakdowns of skin on an area of the foot. They can develop quickly and may be painful and difficult to heal. Infection is a common complication. Diabetic ulcers can be caused by uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, vascular insufficiency, lack of sensation, ill-fitted shoes, trauma or heredity. Self-treatment is not recommended. Delay in treatment of a diabetic ulcer is the leading cause of non-traumatic amputations, so do not delay getting care for this.
Lower Leg Ulcers
The most common cause for leg ulcers is poor circulation, but other causes and exacerbating factors include poorly controlled diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, poor arterial circulation (known as PAD) and varicose veins. The risk of leg ulcers increases with age, but it afflicts both males and females equally. The most important step in healing a leg ulcer is finding the reason why it occurred and controlling the factors that are keeping the wound from healing. Some of the treatments include compression bandages, surgery to improve blood flow and hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy.
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Pressure Ulcers (or Bed Sores)
Pressure ulcers occur when a person remains in one position too long without shifting his or her weight. This causes a decrease in the blood supply to the area causing skin and tissue to break down. The primary treatment is to relieve or reduce the pressure. The first visible signs of a pressure ulcer may be a red area on the skin that does not fade or, for those with darker complexions, persistent areas of red, blue, or purple with a different skin temperature.
Contact your physician if ulcers show warning signs of infection including increased pain at the wound site, redness or swelling spreading away from the wound, a foul wound odor, change in color or amount of drainage from the wound or if you experience fever, chills, nausea, or vomiting.
Do not massage the skin near the ulcer, as this can cause more damage. Also, do not use a donate-shaped or ring-shaped cushion. These can interfere with blood flow and cause complications.
Bone infections are usually bacterial, but can sometimes be fungal. They can spread into the bone from nearby skin or muscles, or through the bloodstream. Diabetics, as well as people with poor circulation or recent bone injuries, can find themselves at risk of bone infections. Symptoms of bone infections include pain in the infected area, chills and fever, swelling, warmth and redness. Treatment for bone infections can include antibiotics, surgery and hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy.
Gangrene is the death of tissue in a part of the body and can occur when a body part loses its blood supply. This may be the result of an injury or an infection. Your risk of gangrene increases if you have diabetes, blood vessel disease, surgery, a suppressed immune system (from HIV or chemotherapy, for example) or a serious injury.
Symptoms of gangrene depend on the location and cause. If the skin is involved, or the gangrene is located near the skin, symptoms may include discoloration, foul-smelling discharge and the loss of feeling or sensation in the area.
Gangrene requires urgent evaluation and treatment. Typically, dead tissue should be removed. Depending on the cause and location of gangrene, as well as the patient's overall condition, treatment may also include antibiotics, surgery or amputation.
Failed or Compromised Skin Grafts
Skin grafting is a surgical procedure wherein skin or a skin substitute is placed over a burn or non-healing wound to permanently replace damaged or missing skin. These grafts can occasionally fail or become compromised as the result of poor blood flow, swelling or infection. When this happens, hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy works to maximize the viability of the compromised tissue, make collagen and reduce the need for re-grafting.