A wound becomes chronic when it fails to progress through the normal healing stages. According to Wound Source, if the wound doesn’t show significant signs of healing within 30 days, doctors should begin treating it as a chronic wound.
In the event that a wound becomes chronic, doctors may prescribe one or more of the following treatment methods:
Chronic wounds require careful attention and cautious yet frequent cleansing between dressing changes to promote healing. The exact steps will vary depending on the wound. For instance, according to the Chronic Wound Care Guidelines published by the Wound Healing Society, many chronic ulcers require neutral, non-irritating and non-toxic cleansing solutions that cause minimal trauma during dressing changes.
When infection is the cause of delayed healing, doctors often prescribe antibiotics to fight it. With any luck, the infection will clear and the wound can continue on a steady path to recovery.
If the chronic wound contains dead, infected, damaged or contaminated tissue, doctors will remove the unhealthy tissue. This process is called wound debridement, and it allows healthy tissue to fight infection and promote healing. According to Wound Source, there are five different types of debridement: biological, enzymatic, autolytic, mechanical and surgical. The doctor or surgeon will decide which type is best suited to the type of wound.
Several therapies can promote healing in chronic wounds. For instance, Wound Source noted that venous ulcers can benefit from compression therapy because it increases blood flow to the affected area and strengthens vein support. Negative pressure wound therapy is another treatment option for chronic wounds. According to a review of current chronic wound management and treatments published in Advances in Therapy, NPWT can maintain a moist wound bed, optimize blood flow, remove exudate and reduce infection, all of which promotes healing.
Some chronic wounds may require surgical intervention to prevent further delays in healing. Skin grafting, for example, is an operation that transplants healthy tissue to the affected area. Some surgical site infection may also require additional operations to correct the damage.
While treatment plans differ depending on the type and severity of the chronic wound, managing dressing changes and medications is essential for healing. Talk to your doctor about smartPAC by Advanced Tissue to get the wound care products your treatment requires delivered straight to your front door.