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When Should You See
A Doctor For Your Wound?

If a wound doesn’t improve after four weeks, or does not heal within eight weeks, it is considered a non-healing wound and specialized wound care may be necessary. Non-healing wounds can cause deeper skin erosion, infection and complications which can be damaging to organs and limbs, and even be life threatening. An estimated 6.7 million Americans suffer from a non-healing wound consisting of mostly cardiac patients, diabetics, amputees, surgical patients, cancer survivors and others. Among the most commonly treated wounds are those sustained from an acute injury, surgical wounds, diabetic wounds and pressure sores.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What Is An Acute Wound?

    An acute wound is an injury to the skin that occurs suddenly rather than over time. It heals at a predictable and expected rate according to the normal wound healing process. Acute wounds can happen anywhere on the body and vary from superficial scratches to deep wounds damaging blood vessels, nerves, muscles or other body parts.

    What Is A Chronic Or Hard To Heal Wound?

    A chronic wound develops when any acute wound fails to heal in the expected time frame for that type of wound, which might be a couple of weeks or up to six weeks depending on severity.

    What Causes A Chronic Or Hard To Heal Wound?

    There are many causes for chronic wounds. Most common causes include: diabetes, poor circulation, too much pressure from sitting or lying down, and surgical wounds.

    What Are The Most Common Types Of Wounds?

    Arterial ulcers – Can occur from hypertension, atherosclerosis (plugging) and thrombosis (clotting), where the reduced blood supply leads to an ischemic state.

    Venous ulcers – Account for more than half of ulcer cases, especially in the lower limbs (mainly the legs) as associated with deep vein thrombosis, varicose veins and venous hypertension. Venous stasis leads to venous ulcers, where the blood fails to circulate normally.

    Diabetic ulcers – Are a common complication in uncontrolled diabetes, resulting in impaired immune function, hyperglycemia, ischemia (due to poor blood circulation), PAD/PVD (peripheral arterial disease) and neuropathy (nerve damage), which eventually lead to breakage of skin and ulceration.

    Pressure ulcers – Can develop due to lack of blood supply to the skin caused by chronic pressure or friction on an area of the skin (e.g., a person who is bedridden, sits for long periods of time in a wheelchair, or a cst pressing on the skin).

    Infectious wounds – Can be bacterial, fungal or viral. If the cause of the infection is not treated with the proper medication, the wound will not heal properly in the expected time.

    Delayed radiation injury wounds – Are caused by excessive exposure to radiation materials that weaken the immune system and cause damage to exposed tissue; delaying healing time of all wounds. Examples include: therapeutic (gamma rays or x-rays) or accidental (exposure to radioactive materials from nuclear plant accidents or radioactive devices that detonate).

    Surgical wounds – Occur when the blood supply to the surgery area is accidentally damaged or if wound care was inadequate.

    Inflammatory wounds – May develop as a manifestation of a variety of different diseases or may result from some non-disease phenomena. Most of these wounds correlate with autoimmune or connective tissue disease.

    Cancerous wounds – Are wounds that harbor cancerous cells not allowing the wound to healing.

    What Problems Can Occur If A Chronic Wound Goes Untreated?

    If left untreated, a chronic wound can lead to gangrene, infection, or worse, amputation.

    When Should A Doctor Be Consulted?

    If in doubt about the seriousness of the wound, people should consult their doctor. There are some good indications whether the wound is serious or not.

    • Any sort of pus or cloudy, creamy fluid
    • Increasing redness around the wound
    • Increased pain or swelling 48 hours after the wound occurs
    • The wound won’t stop bleeding
    • Fever
    • Wound hasn’t healed in 10 days
    • Numbness
    • The wound is deep, and you have not had a tetanus shot in the last 5 years

    What Other Things Should Be Reported To Your Wound Care Provider?

    • Pain from your wound
    • Increase drainage
    • If a diabetic, report high blood sugar
    • Redness around the wound
    • Changes in blood pressure, body temperature, or mental clarity
    • Any new wounds
    • Any changes to medications
    • Difficulty completing dressing changes
    • Any question or concerns you may have about your wound care

    How Are Chronic Or Hard To Heal Wounds Treated?

    At MVS Wound Care & Hyperbarics we have a highly qualified and well-respected team of podiatrists, plastic surgeons, general surgeons, internal medicine providers, vascular surgeons and geriatricians who will assess your wound and determine the best course of action. This may include:

    • Treatment for the wound,
    • Education and follow up, and/or
    • Hyberbaric Oxygen Therapy

    Who Is At Risk Of Developing An Acute Or Chronic Wound ?

    People with diabetes have a higher risk for getting chronic, non-healing foot wounds. People may also be at risk if they:

    • Have limited mobility or are confined to their bed,
    • Have poor circulation,
    • Blockage in major arteries, or
    • Nerve damage in hands or feet

    How To Make An Appointment?

    Call us directly at 410-433-4300 to schedule your appointment. You can select from seven convenient locations in Rosedale, Glen Burnie, Cockeysville, Pikesville, Abingdon, Westminster and Towson.