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Piedmont Rockdale Offers Specialized Care for Non-Healing Wounds

Conyers, Ga. (January 30, 2019) –During the winter months, the skin on our hands and feet can become dry, causing cracks and cuts to form. While the human body has a remarkable ability to heal, sometimes small cuts can turn into chronic wounds. Patients diagnosed with diabetes, an infection, poor circulation, or other issues may have difficulty healing and recovering from a wound.

Many develop chronic, non-healing ulcers that need special care and treatment in order to heal.  According to a 2016 study by the National Institutes of Health, more than 6.5 million Americans each year are treated for a chronic wound. The healthcare system spends more than $25 billion on treatments for non-healing, chronic wounds.

Chronic wounds (defined as wounds that do not successfully heal within three months) are treated at wound care centers. Wound centers use a combination of therapies to treat both acute and chronic wounds. Because they have specially-trained, experienced staff and have access to unique treatment tools and equipment, wound centers are often able to heal difficult wounds that have not responded to initial treatments.

To learn more about the highly-specialized care provided at Piedmont Rockdale Hospital’s Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center, Rajeev Mysorekar, M.D., the medical director and a specialist in wound care and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, answered some frequently asked questions.

Q: Why is proper care of a wound so important?

A: Untreated wounds and ulcers can be very painful and often may have drainage or odor. Also, these wounds can become infected, and some patients need to be hospitalized for treatment of the infection. In the worst cases, patients may require extensive surgery or even amputation of a limb. In addition, ulcers that have been untreated for a long time may develop cancer within the ulcer. For all of these reasons, rapid and effective healing of these wounds is highly desirable.

Q: What types of wounds are treated at a wound center?

A: Some of the more common wounds we treat are pressure ulcers (bedsores), diabetic foot ulcers, traumatic wounds, and wounds resulting from cancer or cancer treatment such as radiation therapy. Comprehensive wound care also addresses many conditions beyond the wound itself. Diabetes, severe skin irritation, burns, traumatic injury or impaired blood flow can all interfere with normal healing and require specialized attention and management.

Q: What kinds of treatments are used to help patients heal?

A: Most treatments include the use of topical wound healing creams or ointments, wound debridement and compression bandages. More advanced methods of treatment include bioengineered skin grafts, negative pressure wound therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Q: Is wound healing a specialty?

A: Yes. Physicians specializing in Wound Care develop expertise in the management of chronic wounds after years of experience. Many of us have also earned Board Certification in Wound Care and in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine. To earn these certifications, doctors need to first be certified in a primary specialty, such as Internal Medicine or Surgery, and must have several years of experience in Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine. They also have to pass comprehensive examinations in both areas. Ongoing continuing medical education is also required to maintain the certifications.

Q: What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy and how does it work?

A: Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) involves a patient breathing 100 percent oxygen in a special pressurized chamber. This allows more oxygen to be carried to the organs and soft tissues in the body. The increased level of oxygen helps wounds heal more quickly.  HBOT can be used to treat infected diabetic wounds, tissue injury from radiation therapy and failing skin flaps, among other problems.

Q: How can a patient get an appointment at the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center?

A: Patients should speak with their primary care physician, podiatrist, or other medical specialist to determine if a referral for specialized wound care or hyperbaric oxygen therapy is appropriate. Once the Wound Center has received a referral, we call the patient directly to set up an appointment.

To make an appointment at Piedmont Rockdale's Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center, please call 678-413-7738.

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