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Healing diabetic wounds can be complicated, and diligent wound treatment with professional medical care is necessary for all diabetic wounds, regardless of their size and severity.
Visiting your doctor promptly is recommended for treating diabetic wounds, and a medical professional should be contacted after diabetic wound symptoms appear. Immediate attention is crucial to avoiding infection and delays in healing time.
Here are the various courses of diabetic wound treatment.
Rinse the diabetic wound with water only, as soap can aggravate the affected area. Apply an antibiotic ointment before covering the diabetic wound with a sterile bandage. Dressing the wound alleviates symptoms and keeps a clean, moist environment that is ideal for healing.
For the treatment of diabetic ulcers, a medical professional may recommend a certain type of dressing to cover the wound, such as an antiseptic, silver or iodine-based dressing to speed the healing process. Hydrocolloid dressings are highly absorbent and foam dressings adhere to the wound.
Diabetic wound dressings must be checked and changed frequently. This allows the wound to be monitored for signs of infection, and helps avoid maceration, or softening of the skin that can lead to healing complications.
Debridement is a diabetic wound treatment that removes dead skin and tissue from the wound. Debridement encourages the wound to close faster, and prevents infection. It is performed by a medical professional, usually with a scalpel.
Where the wound has abscessed, incision and drainage may be necessary prior to debridement treatment.
Debridement may also be possible by putting the affected area in a whirlpool bath to remove dead tissue. Consult with a medical professional to begin a debridement diabetic wound treatment—it should only be done by professionals.
For diabetic wounds on the feet and lower extremities, offloading is an easy treatment that helps to alleviate constant pressure that blocks circulation and interferes with blood flow to the legs and feet.
Offloading may include the use of a wheelchair or crutches to remove pressure from the diabetic wound completely.
Total contact casts (TCCs) or removable cast walkers are another form of offloading. TCCs are designed to distribute weight along the sole of the foot. This relieves pressure on other areas of the foot to allow diabetic wounds to heal. Removable cast walkers also manage pressure in the foot, and are removable to allow the wound to be inspected regularly.
Skin substitutes are sometimes used to treat chronic or persistent wounds, or diabetic wounds that are resistant to traditional treatments. They are genetically engineered living skin cells, usually from donated human tissue. Skin substitutes cover the wounds, acting as a dressing to stimulate the healing process.
Apligraf and Dermagraft are two skin substitutes designed for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used to treat serious infections and diabetic wounds. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy boosts the oxygen levels by placing the diabetic patient in a pressurized room to inhale pure oxygen. This oxygen stimulates cell growth and is essential to diabetes wound care and healing.
Wounds that are severe, infected or limb-threatening often require antibiotic therapy as part of the treatment process.
Diabetic wound infections leading to localized cellulitis (a bacterial skin infection) may also require antibiotics for treatment.
Dicloxacillin, Nafcillin or Ampicillin may be prescribed for moderate to severe wounds with cellulitis. Ticarcillin/clavulanate or piperacillin/tazobactam may be prescribed for limb-threatening diabetic wound infections.
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