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Wound care centers

Pressure ulcer - wound care center; Decubitus ulcer - wound care center; Diabetic ulcer - wound care center; Surgical wound - wound center; Ischemic ulcer - wound center

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Description

A wound care center, or clinic, is a medical facility for treating wounds that do not heal. You may have a non-healing wound if it:

Causes

Common types of non-healing wounds include:

Certain wounds may not heal well due to:

Non-healing wounds may take months to heal. Some wounds never heal completely.

Your Wound Care Team

When you go to a wound clinic, you will work with a team of health care providers trained in wound care. Your team may include:

Your providers will also keep your primary care physician up to date on your progress and treatment.

What to Expect at a Wound Care Center

Your wound care team will:

Treatment goals include:

In order to treat your wound, your provider will clean out the wound and apply dressing. You also may have other types of treatment to help it heal.

Debridement

Debridement is the process of removing dead skin and tissue. This tissue must be removed to help your wound heal. There are many ways to do this. You may need to have general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free) for debridement of a large wound.

Surgical debridement uses a scalpel, scissors, or other sharp tools. During the procedure, your doctor will:

Your wound may seem bigger and deeper after debridement. The area will be red or pink in color and look like fresh meat.

Other ways to remove dead or infected tissue are to:

After the wound is clean, your doctor will apply a dressing to keep the wound moist, which promotes healing, and help prevent infection. There are many different types of dressings, including:

Your provider may use one or multiple types of dressings as your wound heals.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Depending on the type of wound, your doctor may recommend hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Oxygen is important for healing.

During this treatment, you sit inside a special chamber. The air pressure inside the chamber is about two and a half times greater than the normal pressure in the atmosphere. This pressure helps your blood carry more oxygen to organs and tissues in your body. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help some wounds heal faster.

Other Treatments

Your providers may recommend other types of treatment, including:

You will receive treatment at the wound center every week or more often, depending on your treatment plan.

Follow-up Care

Your providers will give you instructions on caring for your wound at home in between visits. Depending on your needs, you may also receive help with:

When to Call Your Doctor

You should call your doctor if you notice signs of infection, such as:

References

de Leon J, Bohn GA, DiDomenico L, et al. Wound care centers: critical thinking and treatment strategies for wounds. Wounds. 2016;28(10):S1-S23. PMID: 28682298 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28682298/.

Marston WA. Wound care. In: Sidawy AN, Perler BA, eds. Rutherford's Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 115.

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Review Date: 5/30/2020  

Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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