Different types of wounds typically take a certain amount of time to heal. It also goes through a particular phase of healing, and when deviations occur along the way, the wound is considered chronic in nature.
Normally, wounds are closed up within a few hours after an injury since the risk of infection rises as long as the wound remains open. However, chronic wounds are not ordinary wounds; they close slower than usual, keep opening up, or just don’t heal.
As such, chronic wound care often involves management and other methods to aid with healing.
Treatment of Chronic Wounds
Treatment of a chronic wound involves dressing it up for protection. While it can be a challenge to treat, proper management can result in successful healing. Wound care specialists work to identify the causes of a non-healing wound in order to provide the appropriate treatment.
Chronic wounds can be accompanied by pain, which can cause patient discomfort. As such, treatment options focus on speeding up the healing process to ensure comfort and successful healing.
Wound Care Process
Chronic wound care involves frequent dressing changes. It involves cleaning the wound and applying a dressing.
Cleaning a wound usually involves rinsing it with a saline or electrolyte solution. A process called debridement follows which involves the removal of dead cells of inflamed tissue with the use of tweezers or a scalpel. This process can be painful which is why a topical anesthetic can be applied to prevent pain.
After cleaning, the wound is covered with a dressing. The purpose of a dressing is to remove excess fluid from the wound and to keep it protected from infection. While it can be left on the wound for a number of days, it needs to be replaced regularly, especially when the dressing becomes ineffective in soaking up secretions.
While there are different kinds of dressings, there is no one type that works well for a particular chronic wound. However, it is clear that maintaining a moist wound environment is essential for healing. As such, wound dressings that can retain moisture or absorb exudate are preferred.
Making sure the wound environment is moist also has benefits for the patient since it reduces discomfort. Dressings that create a moist environment include:
- alginate dressings
- film dressings
- foam dressings
- hydrocolloid dressings
- hydrogel dressings
A wound that still refuses to heal will require the aid of a specialist.
Seeing a Wound Care Specialist
Common chronic wounds include diabetic foot ulcers, pressure ulcers, and venous leg ulcers. These conditions share similar features such as excessive inflammation and persistent infection. They can be a challenge to care for but success healing is possible if treated appropriately.
If a wound refuses to heal, seeing a chronic wound care specialist can recommend the use of other methods like skin grafts. Wounds of the chronic variety can’t simply be sewn but proper management can lead towards successful healing.
Chronic wounds can affect daily life but something can be done about it. Come to the San Diego Wound Center to see what we can do for you.
We specialize in diagnosis and treatment for any and all wound care issues for patients in San Diego County, Orange County, and Riverside County. For more information or to set an appointment, please contact us.