Millions of Americans suffer from wounds that don’t heal. It’s a problem most don’t even think about until they or a loved one develops this type of wound. After all, every one of us has fallen or hurt ourselves with a resulting wound. It generally hurts for a little, we put a little Neosporin or a band-aid on it, and forget about it. Pretty soon, it is gone, and there is a little or big scar in its place. However, as we get older, and develop medical issues, this healing may not happen. A wound that has been “open” for more than four weeks, is called a chronic wound, and often needs the special attention of a wound care center. In these centers, team of specially trained nurses and doctors use a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic tools to help promote healing.
Several different problems can contribute to wound healing. The most common of these is a circulation issue. Either the arteries are blocked that supply oxygen and nutrients to help heal the wound, or the veins that promote drainage of toxins and fluids are not functioning properly. This can occur either because they have leaky valves, or because they too are blocked. In general, it has been discovered that about 70% of wounds seen in wound care centers have an underlying vascular issue. This problem is most often an issue with leg or foot wounds. For this reason all of these should be consulted on by a vascular surgeon, a specialist in treating circulation problems. Simple tests, most of which are not invasive, can reveal problems in the arteries and veins. It is very important to do this, because treating these issues alone can greatly improve the wound healing rate.
Other issues that can contribute to wound healing problems include diabetes, poor nutrition, infection, pressure on the wound, and certain medications (such as steroid use). These can often be addressed by the wound care specialists and thus improving the ability of the wound to ultimately heal.
Silicon Valley’s South Bay Vascular Center and Vein Institute doctors are recognized as the leading wound care physicians in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. Kokinos is the medical director at both the Verity/O’Connor Wound Care Center in San Jose and St Louise Hospital Wound Care Center in Morgan Hill, CA. and is recognized as the regional expert in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.