Variety Of Therapies

People with wounds that have been present for many weeks or months often need specialty care to assist the healing process. Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital wound care offers patients the latest treatments and technologies to help speed healing process and prevent more wounds from forming.

"After just eight to 12 weeks, we typically achieve an 80 percent healing rate with the average patient who comes through our doors," says Mark Melin, MD, a vascular surgeon with Methodist Hospital wound care. "We offer some of the best wound care in the Twin Cities and receive many referrals."

Most wounds treated at Methodist Hospital wound care are caused by poor circulation, although some result from trauma or pressure. Wounds on the lower legs and feet typically are caused by poor circulation, which can stem from arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), diabetes, varicose veins, blood clots and many other conditions.

The first step in treating wounds is to assess the underlying cause and develop an in-depth treatment plan. In some cases, vascular surgery is necessary before wound treatment begins. "Wounds need adequate blood flow to heal," Dr. Melin explains. "When wounds are caused by severe artery blockage or varicose veins, we may need to treat those conditions first."

Wound-healing strategies

Methodist Hospital uses a variety of therapies to promote wound healing.

Circular boot therapy involves a device that fits over a patient's lower leg. Working in sync with the heart, this mechanism helps enhance blood flow to the lower leg and foot.
Ultrasonic mist therapy stimulates cell growth and healing. This technology uses a saline mist to deliver the ultrasound, making it a painless, noncontact procedure.
Pneumatic compression therapy uses special cuffs that rhythmically tighten over the calf and foot area to push blood to the toes and tissues.
Negative pressure therapy helps stimulate wound healing.
Enzymatic debridement uses topical medications to increase the breakdown of non-healing tissue in the wound.
Nonthermal infrared light helps increase cell activity and blood flow to promote wound healing.
Pulsatile lavage helps clean and irrigate wounds using pressure-controlled saline and suction.
Total contact casting helps take weight off the foot and immobilize wounds for quicker healing.

"We also recommend a 'whole body' approach to preventing and treating wounds," Dr. Melin continues. "It is important to quit smoking, eat a healthy diet, exercise, maintain a healthy weight and work with the wound care team and your primary care doctor."