Chronic wounds affect almost seven million Americans and the cost to treat them is right around $25 billion dollars a year. These types of wounds can be life threatening if not treated properly.
“If a patient is noticing that a wound is not starting to heal within two weeks or has not completely healed in six weeks, they would absolutely be a candidate for our wound care center,” said Nicholas Verdura, MD, Medical Director for Hartford HealthCare’s Advanced Wound Care Centers in New Britain and Bristol.”
Some of the conditions that can often lead to non-healing wounds include:
Diabetic foot ulcers
Venous stasis ulcers
Tissue injury following radiation treatment
Non-healing surgical wounds
“Chronic wounds that are left untreated can lead to possible amputation and contribute to a major portion of the death rate here in the United States, which is on par with many cancer diagnoses,” said Dr. Verdura.
Treatment options for wounds will vary depending on the condition and needs of the patient. Debridement is a common form of treatment where damaged tissue is removed from the wound so the healthy tissue can help with the healing process. Skin grafts, special dressings, negative pressure therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy are also used to treat and heal chronic wounds.
“Hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps wounds heal by supplying oxygen-rich plasma directly to the tissue in a wound that’s essentially starving for oxygen. As a result this encourages new collagen, blood vessel formation and skin cells to grow,” Verdura explains.
Wound treatment goes beyond the confines of the Wound Care Centers. Patients are also taught to care for their wounds at home and are given information on nutrition and exercise that may help with the healing process and prevent wounds from happening in the future.
“Delaying treatments is one of the worst things you can do. We effectively heal more than 90 percent of our patients with various advanced wound care treatments and getting them to heal can greatly improve someone’s quality of life,” said Dr. Verdura.
Dr. Nicholas Verdura is the Medical Director for Hartford HealthCare’s Advanced Wound Care Centers in New Britain and Bristol. For more information or to make an appointment, call 860.224.5193 (New Britain) or 860.584.8379 (Bristol). You can also visit www.hartfordhealthcare.org/woundcare .