One of the most challenging aspects of wound care is diagnosing and facilitating healing when the wound doesn’t respond as fully as expected. Now, there are promising new treatments utilizing fluorescence that could change that. Here’s a summary.
The problem: wound complications caused by infection and other factors
Medical professionals know the process of wound healing varies for each patient, depending on the size and nature of the wound. In certain cases, however, complications that stall or slow down the healing can develop. For example, bacteria from the environment or the patient’s skin can infiltrate the wound, compromising the process. Sometimes, other conditions like diabetes or venous disease can slow healing.
Normally, as healing occurs, dead tissue accumulates around the wound. This creates the problem of hidden, hard-to-see dead spaces that can serve as breeding grounds for bacteria. In response, the standard procedure is something called debridement, which is the removal of damaged, dead or infected tissue from the wound area, which then allows healing to progress at a normal pace. If the physician or surgeon cannot accurately determine the full extent of the infected or dead tissue, however, the procedure will be incomplete, leaving bacteria in the wound.
The solution: fluorescence
Some researchers have found that examining wound areas with fluorescent imaging devices allows them to detect problematic areas of bacterial infection that would otherwise not be visible to the naked eye. Today’s Wound Clinic reports that some of these devices, such as the MolecuLight i:X, even feature built-in filters and wound measurement software that can track the healing process. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, another device, the PRODIGI, allows technicians to find bacterial areas in only seconds, track them over days or months and map their locations inside and around the wound bed. Most importantly, these devices allow healthcare professionals to do a more thorough job of debridement, removing a greater amount of dead or infected tissue.
Other researchers are experimenting with fluorescence as a healing agent. The EUREKA trial in Italy, for example, employed a process called fluorescence biomodulation, in which a chromophore gel was applied to the wound and exposed to LED illumination. The research team reported positive results, with a high rate of wound closure by the end of the study.
Wound care treatments like these may take some time before they’re put into widespread practice. In the meantime, if you need wound care supplies, talk to your doctor about smartPAC by Advanced Tissue to get your prescribed products delivered straight to your front door.