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October 10, 2006 > Time Doesnít Heal All Wounds

Time Doesnít Heal All Wounds

Sometimes a band-aid just isnít enough

by Washington Hospital

The human body has a remarkable ability to heal from wounds. As long as the wound is cleaned and treated properly with an antibiotic ointment and sterile dressing, the body generally produces new cells and blood vessels in an orderly, predictable course. Sometimes, though, the healing process is disrupted by factors such as circulatory problems, diabetes or infection, and wounds become chronic.

“The common definition of a ‘chronic wound’ is one that has not healed within six weeks,” notes plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Prasad Kilaru, medical director of the Outpatient Wound Care Clinic at Washington Hospital. “Our clinic specializes in determining why such wounds aren’t healing and what treatments are required to promote faster healing and avoid further complications. Patients who are elderly, have diabetes or an infection of a wound should not wait six weeks before seeking treatment, however. We also provide expert care for all acute wounds including those associated with burns.”

Kilaru will present a free Health & Wellness Seminar on wound care on Tuesday, October 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. The seminar will be held in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, Rooms A & B, in the Washington West Building located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont. For more information about the seminar, or to register to attend, please call (800) 963-7070.

“At the seminar, we will be discussing the latest concepts in wound care,” Kilaru says. “For example, we’ll talk about the outdated notion of exposing a wound to the open air to let it ‘dry out,’ and why that is no longer considered appropriate. Current recommendations are to cover wounds with sterile dressings to create a warm, moist environment that is more conducive to healing. We also use different types of dressings, depending on the type of wound and whether it is ‘dry,’ infected or oozing. By discussing these current practices in dressings – both self-care and nursing care, we hope to empower patients with the knowledge to help them achieve better wound care results.”

Kilaru also will explain various factors that affect wound healing:

  • Keeping wounds clean

  • Proper nutrition

  • Smoking

  • Diabetes

  • Controlling local factors (keeping leg elevated to help with leg swelling)

  • Infections

“Patients need to watch wounds carefully for signs of infection, such as increasing redness, pain, fever or oozing,” he explains. “Treating an infection right away is crucial because the infection can kill off the ‘healing cells’ in addition to causing decay of infected tissues.”

Opened in March 2005, the Outpatient Wound Care Clinic provides advanced wound care treatment technologies tailored to the specific needs of each patient. The multi-disciplinary clinic team includes plastic and reconstructive surgeons, podiatrists, vascular surgeons, infectious disease physicians and nursing specialists with specific training in wound treatment. In addition, the clinic provides access to physical therapists, dietitians, diabetes educators and pain management specialists.

The clinic staff coordinates patients’ care with their primary care doctors to provide continuity of care, but a physician referral is not required for making an appointment for an evaluation. The clinic is located at 1900 Mowry Avenue in Fremont, adjacent to Washington Hospital. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call (510) 608-3290.

To register for any Health & Wellness class or to receive your free copy of the Health & Wellness Catalog, call Health Connection at (800) 963-7070.
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