Hyperbaric Hope for Wounds

Non-healing wounds of the diabetic foot are considered one of the most significant complications of diabetes, representing a major worldwide medical, social, and economic burden that greatly affects patient quality of life. Almost 24 million Americans-one in every 12-are diabetic, and the disease is causing widespread disability and death at an epidemic pace, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Of those with diabetes, 6.5 million are estimated to suffer with chronic or non-healing wounds. Associated with inadequate circulation, poorly functioning veins, and immobility, non-healing wounds occur most frequently in the elderly and in people with diabetes-populations that are sharply rising as the nation ages and chronic diseases increase.

Although diabetes can ravage the body in many ways, non-healing ulcers on the feet and lower legs are common outward manifestations of the disease. Also, diabetics often suffer from nerve damage in their feet and legs, allowing small wounds or irritations to develop without awareness. These wounds take a long time to heal and require a specialized treatment approach for proper healing.

As many as 25 percent of diabetic patients will eventually develop foot ulcers, and recurrence within five years is 70 percent. If not aggressively treated, these wounds can lead to amputations. It is estimated that every 30 seconds a lower limb is amputated somewhere in the world because of a diabetic wound. Many of these lower extremity amputations can be prevented through an interdisciplinary approach to treatment involving a variety of therapies and techniques, including debridement, dressing selection, special shoes, and patient education.  When wounds persist, a specialized and holistic approach is required for healing. This is when systemic adjunctive hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBOT therapy, steps in to assist wound healing.

HBOT, a therapy that has been in practice for more than 40 years, is a special treatment where the patient breathes 100 percent oxygen inside a pressurized chamber.   The chamber quickly delivers high concentrations of oxygen to the bloodstream, boosts the healing process of wounds and is effective in fighting certain types of infections.  It also stimulates the growth of new blood vessels and improves circulation. With the use of systematic HBOT therapy, 94 percent of patients maintain an intact limb 55 months after therapy, proving there is hope for non-healing wounds.

HBOT, and other specialized wound therapies are not just for diabetics. Facilities like the Wound Care Center at Southern Regional specialize in treating patients suffering from diabetic, neuropathic, pressure and ischemic ulcers; venous insufficiency;  vasculitis; burns; peristomal skin irritations; traumatic, surgical and other chronic, non-healing wounds; soft tissue radionecrosis and osteoradionecrosis;  chronic refractory osteomyelitis; compromised skin grafts and flaps; actinomycosis; crush injury; acute traumatic peripheral ischemia; progressive necrotizing infection; and acute peripheral arterial insufficiency.

If you suffer from any of these conditions, visit the specially trained staff at the Wound Care Center at Southern Regional.  This facility is celebrating a grand re-opening at a new 3,783 square-foot center with five treatment rooms, two hyperbaric chambers and more than 20 years of experience in helping you heal.  To learn more, call:  (770) 996-5404, visit online: www.southernregional.org/services/wound-care-center, or visit in person:

Building 33, Suite 17
(on the Southern Regional Health System main campus)
33 Upper Riverdale Rd., SW
Riverdale, Georgia.

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