If you suffer from a chronic wound, you are not alone. More than 2 million people in the United States struggle with wounds that fail to heal. Those who are immobile, suffer from malnutrition or have poor blood circulation, bone infections, bacterial infections or diabetes are especially susceptible to acquiring these chronic wounds. Studies have shown specialized wound care programs reduce amputation rates and speed up the healing process.
At St. Joe's, we recognize the need for specialized and personalized care plans for patients with chronic wounds. Our program heals several different types of wounds. Our health team includes physicians' specialty –trained in wound management, certified wound care nurses, and highly trained clinical and administrative staff who care about healing your wound(s) and improving the quality of your life.
To ensure our patients received the best care possible, our wound care experts work in collaboration with existing primary care and specialist providers within the continuum of care. Patients and caregivers are also provided with education on wound care and life-style adjustments to help the healing process. Effective management techniques for underlying medical conditions are also taught with emphasis on proper patient compliance.
When should I see a specialist?
Chronic wounds are often associated with underlying medical conditions and if left untreated can cause medical problems and pain, and as a result, decreased quality of life. You may need to seek treatment if:
- Your wound has failed to hear in 4-6 weeks, or
- Your wound has become worse
These types of wounds include:
- Surgical incisions
- Complications from diabetes
- Vascular and peripheral arterial disease
Many different treatments are available for wound care management including:
- Simple Dressing Changes are wound bandage or wrap changes.
- Vacuum Assisted Closure applies sub-atmospheric pressure directly to the wound site and increases blood flow to aid in healing.
- Topical Growth Factors are often times gels or creams applied to a wound that stimulate healing.
- Debridement is a minor procedure where dead tissue is removed so the remaining viable tissue can adequately heal.
- Bioengineered Skin Substitute is a graft containing health agents that is placed directly on the wound surface to promote healing.
- Compression Therapy involves the use of a range of compression therapies with varying levels of pressure to improve the circulation of blood.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a chamber based system that delivers 100% oxygen under elevated pressure to the patient's full body.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
In hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy, patients breathe 100% oxygen at an increased atmospheric pressure. The 100% oxygen is administered through a monoplace (single person) chamber, shown in the picture above. Wounds often have reduced oxygen supply which impairs healing of the wound. HBO therapy is designed to raise tissue oxygen levels to enhance wound healing activity.
Could I benefit from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
HBO therapy may be used as a primary treatment for non-healing wounds or as an adjunct to traditional wound care, antibiotics, and surgery.
Evidence has shown that HBO therapy is beneficial for compromised skin grafts, osteoradionecrosis, gas gangrene, progressive necrotizing infections, and chronic non-healing wounds.
HBO therapy is administered for 90 to 120 minutes once or twice daily. Patients hospitalized with limb-threatening infections or significant peripheral arterial occlusive disease may require twice daily treatments until stabilized. Many of these wounds are slow to respond and can require 30 to 60 HBO treatments.
St. Joseph Mercy Health System Centers for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine
St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and Livingston
5333 McAuley Dr. Ste. 1100
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
St. Mary Mercy Hospital
36475 Five Mile Road
Livonia, MI 48154