Treatment for Wounds That Won't Heal

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Chronic wounds can be a huge burden to patients. It costs the U.S. health care system some $20 billion annually. In this Healthcast, we tell you how one woman finally found healing after years of living with open wounds.

Twelve years ago, Regina Abshire began having her first problems with wounds not healing.  A series of surgeries over the past decade only worsened this condition.  "I've had six surgeries in the last eight years," says Regina.

After each surgery, more scar tissue would form and damaged cells would prevent Regina's wounds from improving.  "I had bulges and then at the bottom I had a lot of big veins and that hurt," says Regina, "that's what hurt the most."

Regina's most recent surgery was last May.  The wounds that resulted from a large abdominal incision left her turning to Dr. Gerald Mouton with Lake Charles Memorial Hospital's Wound Care Center.  "When Regina came here," says Dr. Mouton, "you could literally put both fists within the wound of the abdomen, it was a very large wound with a lot of necrotic dead tissue within it."

Regina's wound was healing faster from the outside than from the inside, so Dr. Mouton put her on a treatment plan that would keep her wound free of infection and on the way to recovery.  "I would come in every week and he would clean all of the dead skin and make sure there was clean flesh," says Regina, "and I was on a wound vac."

24 hours a day, for three months, Regina was connected to a wound vac that would suction out the dead tissue and bacteria. Had she neglected her wound, Dr. Mouton says the results could have been severe.  "It can turn into a larger infection, a simple wound can move down into the bone and cause a bone infection," says Dr. Mouton, "which is a very difficult problem to treat.  It can spread up and down muscle tendons and the larger the wound gets, the larger the defect and the more difficult it is to heal."

Regina stuck to her treatment plan and is now happily wound-free.  "Matter of fact," she adds, "I cleaned my yard this weekend for the first time in a year and a half, so that felt great!"

Dr. Mouton says if you have a wound that is not healing after four weeks, you should have it checked out.  There are several treatment options available at Memorial's Wound Care Center, including hyperbaric oxygen chambers. To find out more information, call 494-6700.