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What Is Wound Care?

  • Category: Articles by Clinicians
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  • Written By: Martin Johnson, MD, MPH, Hyperbaric Medicine and Wound Care Center
What Is Wound Care?

Martin Johnson, MD“Wound care.” You’ve heard the term, but what exactly does it encompass? As a practice, wound care has evolved considerably over the past 40 years—gone is the notion to simply "leave it open to the air and let it form a scab." The types of wounds that require medical treatment vary widely and can stem from a number of causes, including surgery, trauma, or medical conditions.

The most common wounds seen in modern wound care centers are venous leg ulcers. These wounds occur as a result of damage to the veins and result in swelling and congestion with a subsequent ulceration of the skin. These wounds can be painful and debilitating. Fortunately, with multispecialty combination therapy these wounds are treatable. Care may involve vascular surgery to treat the abnormal veins, as well as compression of the wound. In nearly all instances, we are able to treat this condition and provide a long-term care plan to minimize the chance of recurring ulcerations.

Patients with diabetes are at especially high risk for foot wounds due to a combination of neuropathy—a decrease of feeling in the foot—and increased risk of arterial blockage. If these wounds are not treated appropriately and aggressively, they can result in amputation. Modern wound care centers typically offer a multispecialty “limb preservation” approach to treat these wounds and minimize future risk for amputation.

Doctors now have other advanced modalities to treat wounds more effectively. This includes hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat diabetic ulcers, as well as complications of surgery and radiation. New modalities are also available to assess blood flow in the tissues and the wound. And we utilize amazing technologies such as the platelet rich fibrin patch, which incorporates the patient's own blood and skin to assist with healing.

Modern wound care centers also treat burns, superficial trauma, and skin tears. These wounds are common in patients advancing in age, due to the progressive thinning of their skin. In addition, these centers are capable of treating cancers and pressure ulcers, and often have access to surgical centers in case patients require plastic surgery repair.

For patients who require wound care, the Casa Colina Hyperbaric Medicine and Wound Care Center and Limb Preservation Program offer comprehensive services, including advanced wound care therapies, diagnostic imaging, hyperbaric and physical therapies, and state-of-the-art surgical services. For more information, call 909/596-7733, ext. 3611.