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Healing Hard-to-Heal Wounds
BJCStCharlesCounty
/ Categories: Wound Care

Healing Hard-to-Heal Wounds

What is a chronic wound?

A chronic wound is a wound that has been present for at least 30 days. This type of wound doesn’t progress through the normal process from an injury or surgery to full healing. There are a number of causes for chronic wounds, many of which are underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or an autoimmune disorder. Issues with blood flow in the arteries or veins or an infection can also prevent wounds from healing. Identifying why a wound is not healing is critical in determining a proper course of treatment and how to reduce these problems in the future.

When should I seek care?

If you have a wound that isn’t healing as you would expect, you’re encouraged to seek care from a wound specialist. Some patients may present very early on if they have concerns of a recurrent problem or if they have had a similar wound in the past. Other patients may have never had a wound before and may come in for an evaluation for reassurance that it will heal or seek a second opinion if a more invasive surgery was recommended by another provider. Regardless, if you have any concerns or questions, you’re always encouraged to seek help.

What treatments are available?

A wound care clinic offers several treatment options. The first are wound care dressings. Providing patients and their family with an understanding on how to appropriately care for a wound is an important factor in healing. It can even be provided through home health nursing if covered by a patient’s insurance. Other treatment modalities include compression therapy, debridement and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a highly effective treatment for a variety of conditions including chronic wounds that haven’t improved, wounds related to diabetes or radiation injury and infections of the bone or deep tissues. In a glass chamber, patients breathe in 100% pressurized oxygen which forces the oxygen to areas that may be lacking oxygen or are in need of extra oxygen to encourage healing.

Located in O’Fallon, the specialized team at the Advanced Wound Center offers these and other comprehensive treatment options focused on healing chronic and hard-to-heal wounds. Patients can self-refer or receive a referral from their primary care doctor or other provider.

Stephanie Sandberg, DO, is a BJC Medical Group general surgeon at Progress West Hospital and a member of the medical team at the Advanced Wound Center in O’Fallon. To schedule an appointment at the Advanced Wound Center, complete this form or call 636.928.WELL.

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