A chronic wound is an injury that doesn’t heal within six weeks. Deep ulcers, infected cuts, and large burns are a few examples and they are not limited just to more common causes such as diabetic foot, pressure, and venous ulcers. This injury type is primarily diagnosed by a raised, hyperproliferative, and non-advancing wound margin. The area around the injury site will be inflamed which may affect the healing adversely.
Factors which contribute to chronic wounds include increased bacterial load, inappropriate treatment, trauma, lower extremity wounds, senescent/aberrant cells etc. There are various aspects that can increase a patient’s risk of developing chronic wounds including bariatric or elderly patients, and those with venous insufficiency or diabetes. To prevent elevated risk, undergoing an effective treatment is of very important. It varies depending on the type of wounds. Usually, underlying causes must be identified first in order to progress the healing process.
Individuals suffering from diabetes will need to improve their vascular health and nutrition. Both pressure and diabetic ulcers require offloading for an affected area. To treat venous ulcers, compression therapy plays an important role, while arterial ulcers require revascularisation. Indeed, physicians employ the acronym T.I.M.E. (Tissue, Inflammation or Infection, Moisture, Edge) to determine reasons contributing to poor chronic wound healing. In addition, antibiotics are given to treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Essential wound care should also be undertaken, including:
- Cleaning. Cleaning is done by simply flushing the injury with sterile water. Healthcare service providers indeed employ a catheter (tube) tip or needle.
- Debridement. Debridement is completed to remove anything from the injury which can delay the healing and at the same time cause infection. For instance, objects like small rocks and dirt as well as dead tissues.
- Wound dressing. Wound dressing protects the wound from further infection and injury. It will also help in maintaining moisture in the injured part to promote a speedy recovery. A plastic bandage can be wrapped around the wound to put light pressure on it. This can be in the form of gel, foam, gauge, bandage, or films. Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) may also be done, also called wound vac or wound vacuum therapy, in which a vacuum device utilises suction in order to remove waste and fluid around the wound. It also promotes new tissue growth as well as increases blood flow.
Last but not least, HBO or hyperbaric oxygen therapy can also be useful. It is utilised to get more oxygen into the body. In this method, the oxygen is given under pressure inside of a tube-like chamber called a pressure or hyperbaric chamber.