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Complications Associated With Chronic Wounds

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Whether you are admitted to the hospital for emergency surgery, or you go for a routine checkup, you expect your wounds to get healed as soon as possible. Unfortunately, some wounds are more complicated and refuse to heal quickly. These wounds are chronic non-healing wounds. They affect millions of individuals each year and sometimes contribute to their morbidity and even mortality.

Chronic non-healing wounds have a substantial impact on the individual’s life due to:

●          Their economic burden

●          Their ability to reduce the quality of life

●          Increased risk of death for the patients affected

Medicare beneficiaries researched in 2014, and the study revealed that chronic non-healing wounds and the complications associated with them affect nearly 15 percent (roughly 8.2 million) Medicare beneficiaries.

The same study also revealed that the estimated cost to treat such wounds is between 28.1 billion USD and 31.7 billion USD annually, which is relatively high.

Causes of chronic non-healing wounds

In addition to being older, people who suffer from such wounds are often obese and diabetic. Underlying causes often include venous leg ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, arterial insufficiency, and pressure ulcers. These are just the common causes. The list of complications that contribute to chronicity and also further deterioration is pretty lengthy.

We will not delve deeper into the causes here. But, we will focus on what complications are associated with such wounds. Keep reading.

Chronic non-healing wound complications

Infection

The most common complication associated with such wounds is infection. A report from John Hopkins Medicine reveals that SSIs (surgical site infections) affect nearly 3 percent of individuals undergoing surgery. The human skin is the natural barrier against any disease, and a break in the layers of the skin can invite bacterias such as Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, and Streptococcus.

However, the positive news is that most SSIs can be treated through antibiotics. Severe SSIs may require additional treatment, which an infected wound treatment specialist can do.

Osteomyelitis

It is a form of infection that attacks bones in your body by spreading from nearby tissues or traveling through the bloodstream. It can also occur if the bone was exposed to harmful bacterias during an injury or surgery.

Antibiotics can treat osteomyelitis if detected early. However, it may lead to severe complications if it’s not seen in the early stages, and you may require an amputation.

Gangrene

Gangrene can occur when there is a lack of blood supply to a specific area of the body, especially the extremities like hands or feet. When tissues in these extreme regions are denied nutrients and oxygen, the tissue dies.

It requires immediate treatment to halt the spread. If you leave it untreated, it may lead to amputation and even death.

Periwound Dermatitis

The tissue surrounding a wound is known as Periwound. Improper care may lead to dermatitis, turning the peri-wound region swollen, sore, red, and sometimes with small blisters. Such a condition may prevent the wound from closing and healing.

It is essential to seek professional assistance when peri-wound dermatitis is detected. Immediate treatment can prevent it from spreading and keep your wound closed.

Periwound Edema

Edema, a swelling caused by the excess fluid trapped inside the body’s tissues, is another complication that affects the peri-wound region. Edema can slow down the healing process or even stop it, resulting in additional wounds.

You should immediately contact your physician when you detect such a complication.

Wound Dehiscence

Sutures, adhesives, and surgical staples can sometimes begin to come apart gradually, or in rare instances, split open completely. This is known as wound dehiscence. Poor suturing (for example, stitching the wound excessively tight), too much stress around the wound area, weakened immune system, or bacterial infection can cause wound dehiscence.

If you notice that your existing wound is coming apart, get in touch with your physician immediately.

Endnote

Chronic non-healing wounds cost millions of patients dearly, both in financial and physical terms. Identifying the risk factors and potential complications in the early stages can be of significance.

Using both knowledge and resources available at your disposal is the starting point for timely detection and management of these risks. Then, if the complications arise, consulting infected wound treatment professionals can enable you to mitigate risks and achieve optimal financial and clinical outcomes.

Anita Begay

The author Anita Begay