Non-healing wounds, also known as chronic wounds, are wounds that do not heal within 4-8 weeks. This causes pain, discomfort, and risk of infection for the patient. Due to the complexities of a chronic wound, a doctor may suggest various treatments and lifestyle changes to help the wound heal.
Stages of wounds
A normal wound goes through 3 stages on the road to recovery. The stages are:
Inflammation: During this stage, the blood starts to clot to manage bleeding. The area becomes inflamed while blood cells destroy dirt and bacteria.
Proliferation: Fibroblasts produce collagen to create new blood cells. At this point, the wound has reduced in size and scar tissue forms.
Maturation/Remodeling: Scar tissue has completely formed, changing the wound’s shape and strengthening the area.
A chronic wound stays in the first stage of inflammation. Only a doctor can determine if a wound is chronic and recommend healing treatments.
The problem with infection
A wound is a prime breeding ground for bacteria. Two types of bacteria, anaerobic and aerobic, attack the area. Anaerobic bacteria congregates beneath the first layer of skin and leads to gangrene. This is due to the lack of oxygen this layer receives. Aerobic bacteria lives on the superficial layer of the skin.
Any type of infection causes a multitude of problems that can lead to the loss of a limb. Gangrene is a condition that kills body tissue. When a patient develops gangrene, a surgeon may have to amputate the infected limb. The body can also develop sepsis, which is a condition that could be fatal. This condition occurs when the body has an adverse reaction to an infection and bacteria starts entering the bloodstream.
Effective treatments for non-healing wounds
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is a treatment that requires a patient to stay in a pressurized oxygen chamber for an hour or more. While in the chamber, the body absorbs extra oxygen which stimulates collagen production and decreases bacteria growth. Doctors may also use topical antibiotics to treat wounds along with aloe vera, vitamin C, and amino acids.
Consult a physician
Non-healing wounds are a serious condition that lead to a host of health issues. Speak to a healthcare provider to learn more about wound care treatments and if HBOT is an option.