Personalized, advanced wound care
For most people, a small scratch or cut to the skin is no big deal. However, for people with certain medical conditions, even an insignificant wound can heal slowly—or not at all.
This can increase the risk of serious infection. In extreme cases, it can mean amputation. While diabetes is a leading cause of impaired wound healing, other factors can cause similar problems. For example, Lori Gholston, 53, an office manager for a physician’s practice, takes heart medicine that interferes with wound healing. Unfortunately, Lori also has eczema, which causes severe itching.
“Last year, I scratched my leg so hard, it became an open wound,” explains Lori. “I tried self-care for a while, but it kept getting worse. So, my primary care physician referred me to the Advanced Wound Care Center at Mercy Fitzgerald.”
“We provide effective, up-to-date treatment for diabetic ulcerations or any problematic wounds that don’t heal quickly,” says Frank Ziskowski, DPM, a podiatric surgeon who works with the Advanced Wound Care Center at Mercy Fitzgerald. “We care for a wide range of patients, from diabetics who have no sensation in their feet to vascular surgery patients who have poor circulation. Many factors can affect wound healing.”
The Center combines advanced healing techniques with compassionate care to offer individualized treatment for each patient. Treatments for feet, ankles and lower legs may include:
- Offloading devices: boots or shoes that take the weight of parts of the foot or leg
- Debridements: the removal of infected or dead tissue
- Compression: applying wraps or stockings to control swelling
For example, Lori’s wound required weekly debridement, a crucial procedure that helps regenerate healthy skin and prevent serious infection. Unfortunately, this important healing procedure can also be painful.
“I couldn’t sleep on the nights after treatment, so they [the doctors and staff] worked with me to find the right medication,” recalls Lori. “After several different medications, we found one that helped me sleep at night so I could function the next day.
”Additionally, Lori is a part-time bartender on the weekends, where she is on her feet for several hours at a time. “The Advanced Wound Care Center considered my daily life when they determined what footwear or stocking would be appropriate,” explains Lori. “For example, I couldn’t wear a specialized boot while bartending. So I wore it on weekdays and removed it on the weekends. They wanted to make sure that I could still function, even with this ulcer on my leg.”
The Advanced Wound Care Center uses a network of specialists to make certain that each patient gets the care they need and that healing continues without setbacks. “We coordinate with vascular surgeons, or infectious disease specialists and use other modalities such as MRIs or CT scans to find the reasons if healing isn’t progressing,” says Dr. Ziskowski. “We were so glad we were able to help Lori get her wound healed, because she is doing great now.”
“The people at the Advanced Wound Care Center really care for you as a person,” confirms Lori. “They make sure your overall health is taken care of, too, so you can heal. If you’re feeling bad, you’re less likely to come in for treatments. Sometimes, it’s about caring for more than just the wound.”