TREATMENTS: Wound dressings are often used to protect skin affected by chronic wounds and assist in healing. They can be anything from bandages available at the drug store to complex materials that contain antibacterial and antiviral medications. Skin substitutes are another option. They are made from human cells called fibroblasts that are placed on a dissolvable mesh material. When that material is placed on the wound, the skin cells are gradually absorbed and replace damaged tissue. One treatment specifically geared toward diabetic ulcers -- called becaplermin -- contains genetically engineered platelet-derived growth factor, one of the proteins the body uses to encourage the growth of new tissue. Those proteins are delivered to the wound in gel form. Research shows a technique called topical negative pressure can also assist in the healing of wounds that won't go away. During the procedure, suction is applied to a wound through a drainage tube using a VAC pump, wall suction or surgical drainage bottle. Experts think the suction helps a wound heal by increasing blood supply, removing fluid and bacteria and stimulating tissue formation, among other things.
Other promising treatments for chronic wounds involve using electricity to stimulate cell movement and growth. One recently developed device called the Procellera is a bioelectric wound dressing that uses radio frequency energy to stimulate cells back to life. The bandage is useful on chronic injuries caused by surgical incisions or bruising.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: