Wound care is the medical specialty devoted to the treatment of difficult wounds that are not healing as they should. Open sores are painful and may be embarrassing for patients. More importantly, wounds that don't heal may get deeper over time, and they are prone to infection. Without appropriate treatment, an open wound can lead to hospitalization, amputation, sepsis, or even death.
Wound care specialists have a number of treatment options available to help a stubborn wound heal. These may include:
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment, which increases the amount of oxygen you breathe in to stimulate healing
Debridement, or the removal of dead tissue
Specialty dressings, such as those containing silver or those that redirect weight off the wound
There are many risk factors for non-healing or chronic wounds, but the most common one is diabetes. Although diabetic foot ulcers are the most common wounds seen by wound care specialists, they may also treat other types of chronic or difficult wounds, including complications after surgery, infection wounds such as gangrene, or radiation wounds.
The wound care team may contain doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and medical techs. Their services are most often provided in hospitals, emergency rooms, clinics, and nursing homes. As our population both ages and becomes more likely to struggle with obesity and diabetes, wound care is a growing and important specialty for preventing amputations and infections.