More than eight million Americans have chronic or non-healing wounds, and if you’re one of them, you know the toll these wounds can take on your health and your quality of life. Without proper care and healing, wounds increase your risk for infections, amputations, and life-threatening complications.
At South Florida Surgical Group, Michael Renfrow, MD, FACS and Steven Kanter, MD, FACS use an array of innovative wound-care treatments adjusted for each patient’s unique needs, to provide optimal healing and reduced complications. If you have a chronic or non-healing wound, here’s why wound care is so important for your health.
Wounds that take a long time to heal, and wounds that don’t receive optimal care, are at a much greater risk of developing complications, including these seven.
#1. Soft tissue infections
Delayed healing means there’s a lot more time for disease-causing bacteria to colonize the tissue, significantly increasing the risk of infection in the tissue surrounding the wound. As germs enter the bloodstream, the risk of more serious systemic infections (or sepsis) also rises.
#2. Tissue necrosis (or gangrene)
A good blood supply is essential for proper healing. Not only does your blood bring oxygen and nutrients to the area, but it can also help carry away toxins. Many people with poor circulation (including many people with diabetes) have a high risk of developing gangrene, which can eventually lead to amputations. In fact, non-healing foot sores cause more than 80% of foot amputations.
#3. Bone infections
When an infection migrates to bone tissue (a condition called osteomyelitis), it can be extremely painful. Bone infections can be difficult to treat, and they’re also a common cause of amputations. In diabetics, for example, osteomyelitis occurs in about half of all serious infections and about 15% of moderate infections.
#4. Swelling (edema)
If significant swelling occurs around the wound, it can prevent the wound from closing. Plus, edema can impair circulation, making it even harder for the wound to heal.
#5. Skin changes (maceration)
Many wounds leak fluids, and these fluids can be damaging to the skin. Sometimes, the skin develops a condition called maceration, which causes the tissue to become wrinkled and more prone to tearing. Maceration can interfere with wound closure, and it can also increase the risk of infection in both the wound and the surrounding skin.
A hematoma forms when blood and fluids collect outside of the blood vessels, creating an area that’s painful and swollen. Hematomas tend to occur more often with surgical wounds, and less commonly with chronic, non-healing wounds.
Dehiscence means the wound opens up again after beginning to heal. Wounds that aren’t cared for properly are more prone to dehiscence — and of course, when a wound reopens, it’s also more likely to become infected.
State-of-the-art wound care
Our team knows patients can heal differently, based on underlying medical problems, their age, and other factors. We design wound-healing regimens based on each patient’s unique needs to promote faster, more complete healing while reducing the risk of complications. If you have a wound that’s slow to heal, call the office at 305-279-9522, or book an appointment online, so we can give you the care you need to prevent serious wound complications.