When everything is working perfectly, we do not even notice that our body is building and rebuilding tissue. We get a scrape, a wound and then a scar, and everything is all better. Well, sometimes that is not the case. Sometimes due to a number of different reasons, a wound does not heal. Now we have problems.
Some of the factors that may cause the change of an acute wound to a chronic, nonhealing wound are infection, lack of oxygen, certain disease processes and unrelieved pressure or continued injury — such as a spot on a shoe that rubs the sore repeatedly.
Besides these factors, other risk factors contribute to the nonhealing of wounds. Smoking, diabetes and underlying blood vessel disease will interfere with proper healing. Nonhealing wounds need immediate and appropriate attention. A comprehensive wound healing center is an excellent choice.
A comprehensive wound healing center is an outpatient department of an acute care hospital providing medical evaluation of patients with wound healing problems and specialized treatment of these wounds using the most advanced techniques, products and services.
Mount Nittany Center for Wound Care provides this service in our area. A specially trained team of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers staffs the center. Treatments, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, are provided in this outpatient setting.
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is the breathing of 100 percent oxygen at the pressure of air at sea level. In order to accomplish this treatment, a patient must be enclosed in a specially constructed chamber.
Two types of chambers are commonly used to treat patients. The majority of hyperbaric oxygen treatments are administered in a monoplace hyperbaric chamber that holds a single patient. The chamber is made of acrylic, and filled with 100 percent oxygen during treatment.
During hyperbaric treatment, the oxygen is breathed under pressure. This increases the amount of oxygen dissolved in the liquid portion of the blood, as much as three to five times more than normal oxygen levels. The resulting increased oxygen-carrying capacity is delivered to all tissues where there is sufficient blood flow and produces a number of beneficial effects that improved the body’s response to infection and support tissue growth and wound healing.
Hyperbaric treatment sounds very high tech, however, it can be an essential treatment therapy for certain chronic wounds such as diabetic foot wounds. Recently, Mount Nittany Center for Wound Care received recognition for a 98 percent patient satisfaction rate, and a healing rate of a median of 22 days. The Robert A. Warriner II, M.D., Center of Excellence distinction was given to only 12 out of 500 centers who are members of the Healogics Network nationwide.
It has been my experience that people really know when a wound is not healing as it should. If you notice a problem, do not delay. Make an appointment to see a provider at a comprehensive wound healing center.
Dr. Mark Shaw, a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians. is the medical director for Mount Nittany Health Center for Wound Care. Visit mountnittany.org for more information, or call 231.7868 for an appointment.