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Everyone has heard that time heals all wounds, but the truth is that without advanced therapies, some wounds can take years and even decades to heal while others that do not respond to treatment may lead to amputation in extreme cases.
Approximately five million Americans suffer from chronic wounds that won’t heal due to contributing factors ranging from age, diet, smoking and circulatory problems to diabetes, arthritis and kidney disease.
A chronic wound is a wound that fails to heal within one month. These wounds prevent the skin from performing its normal function of protecting against infection and holding nutrients within the body. Often these wounds are complicated by one or more chronic illnesses such as diabetes or atherosclerosis (poor blood flow). Such wounds can affect the whole person and lead to serious infections of bone and sometimes of the blood, resulting in costly treatment, amputation, loss of independence, reduced quality of life, and/or death.
At Bellin Health Wound Healing Center, you’ll receive the right treatment to heal your wound. Your wound care physician may prescribe some of these therapies:
Breathing 100% oxygen at increased atmospheric pressure is a painless, proven way to help the body heal. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers work by surrounding the patient with 100% oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressure in sessions, or dives, that last 90 minutes to two hours. This increases the amount of oxygen in the patient's blood allowing red blood cells to pass more easily through the plasma into the wounds to heal them from the inside out.
Introduced in the mid-'60s, HBO chambers have evolved to treat patients suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections, compromised skin grafts and flaps, and wounds that haven't healed within 30 days.
Weighing more than one ton each, the HBO chambers resemble a reclining bed encased in a clear acrylic shell nearly a yard in diameter. Patients can listen to music or watch movies on televisions and VCR/DVD players mounted above the chamber while remaining in constant contact with those outside the chamber through an intercom and private handset. The only physical sensation resulting from the treatment is a slight pressure on the eardrum, such as that felt when a plane lands, as the air in the chamber is compressed.
Much of the success of treatment depends on you. We’ll count on you to follow directions carefully and watch your progress closely. You’ll learn about caring for your wound at home including how to change dressings and how to protect yourself from further injuries. We’re always here to answer questions and give you the support you need to heal.