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Why Won't my Wound Heal?

A wound might develop for many reasons.  This can range from the quite mundane, like a cut on the foot or a scrape on the shin, to the very serious.  If we think about our everyday life, most wound heal pretty quickly; we put some antibiotic ointment on it, take an ibuprofen for the discomfort, and forget about it!  So, why do we have millions of patients in our country with wounds that will not heal for weeks, months, or even years?  To put it simply, the wound is stuck in one phase of wound healing and has taken a detour into the non-healing state.  We can compare wound healing to building a building.  Before you can start construction, you have to clear off the site of any bush, debris, and flatten the land.  This compares to your first phase of normal wound healing, which is inflammation.  Your white blood cells come onto the scene and clear out any bacteria or debris in the wound.  They also signal other kinds of cells that are needed to start traveling to the wound bed.  Let us go back to our construction site.  Once the ground has been set, you need to bring in your equipment onto the site.  You need new road access to bring supplies and waste to and from, respectively, your site.  You also lay your foundations and set up scaffolding.  This is comparable to your next phase in wound healing: inflammation.  This is where your body creates new blood vessels to supply the wound with blood that carries the oxygen and nutrients needed to heal.  It also deposits collagen that acts as a scaffold.   This prepares the body for the final phase, which is to heal that wound!  Just like when all your preparation for building has been done correctly and then construction goes smoothly, so too does your wound usually heal "on schedule".  When it doesn't, it is due to your wound taking a detour off of the continuum of healing that has been described in this analogy.  Maybe the patient has issues with infection or blood flow?  Maybe the issue is multifactorial?  Here at WCE and WCR, we approach the patient in a holistic and comprehensive manner to address your hindrances to healing and get you back on the highway to healing. -MAL

Author
Mateusz Andrzej Lapucha Dr. Lapucha is a wound care surgeon and clinical research specialist in Wound Care Experts' consulting subsidiary, WCR. He attended Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans and did his internship at UMC "Charity" Hospital in New Orleans. He moved to Las Vegas for residency and grew to love the desert! His current research interests include near-infrared spectroscopy and novel autograft technology.

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