Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital Offers Advanced Treatment for Nonhealing Wounds

The Hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

For people living with diabetes, even the smallest scrape can lead to potentially dangerous circumstances. High blood sugar can damage nerves, which may cause numbness in the feet and legs, and lead to a narrowing and hardening of blood vessels, which can result in less oxygen being circulated throughout the body to aid in healing.

If you have a wound that doesn’t heal properly, early treatment can help you get back on your feet. The Houston Methodist Wound Care Program at Sugar Land uses a multidisciplinary approach for treating wounds that won’t heal.

Diabetic Foot Wounds

Timothy Oppermann, M.D., board-certified general surgeon with Houston Methodist Surgical Associates at Sugar Land, encourages patients to take a proactive approach. “Diabetes accounts for about 60 percent of lower limb amputations not related to injury in adults, clearly illustrating the importance for diabetic patients to closely monitor their health and take quick action to provide the proper care to even the smallest wound, particularly in the feet,” Oppermann said.

Warning signs of a chronic, nonhealing wound include:

  • Persistent pain in the area around the wound
  • Discoloration of the wound’s edges
  • Increased drainage from the wound site
  • Redness or swelling around or spreading away from the wound

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

The program’s doctors and nurses are certified in wound care medicine, and work with patients and their primary care physician to monitor, manage and treat wounds with the most advanced treatments available, including compression wraps, antimicrobial dressings, bioengineered skin substitutes and hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).

Michael Yaakovian, M.D., board-certified general surgeon with Houston Methodist Surgical Associates at Sugar Land, treats patients with diabetic foot problems and other nonhealing wounds. “Hyperbaric therapy supplies oxygen under pressure that supersaturates the red blood cells and plasma with oxygen, so when blood is supplied to the area of the wound, these supercharged blood cells help repair the wound and kill the infection, leading to the generation of new blood vessels and tissue growth,” Yaakovian explained.

Five Self-Care Tips

For people with diabetes, managing wounds to prevent complications requires care and diligence. Take good care of your feet with the following tips.

  • 1. Inspect and wash feet daily. With poor sensation, wounds could go unnoticed.
  • 2. Keep wounds clean and dry to reduce risk of infection.
  • 3. File your toe nails. Clipping may increase the risk for skin injury.
  • 4. Wear proper-fitting shoes and socks at all times.
  • 5. Control your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol to slow down the progression of diabetic complications.

See A Wound Specialist

If a wound does not show signs of healing, it should be evaluated by a wound specialist. To schedule an appointment with Timothy Oppermann, M.D. or Michael Yaakovian, M.D., call 281.275.0860. Visit houstonmethodist.org/wound-sl to learn more about our services.

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