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Common Questions about Wound Care

Posted on June 14, 2021
How do patients know if they have a wound that isn’t healing properly?

Anyone with a wound of any kind should pay attention to how it is healing. Generally speaking, when a wound doesn’t decrease in size by 50% in four weeks, there could be a problem.  A wound that isn’t healing properly can become infected and get much worse.

Do patients with diabetic wounds heal slower?

For example, if you have a wound on the bottom of your foot that is the size of a quarter, if in four weeks it’s not the size of a nickel, you should talk to your doctor. Don’t wait. It’s important to get you into the Claiborne Wound Center for evaluation.

Why is it so important to go to a wound center when a wound isn’t healing properly?

Patients who have non-healing wounds need to worry about infection. These infections can lead to serious health issues, hospitalization and even amputation.  In patients with other conditions such as diabetes, wound healing can even take longer and the risk of getting an infection is even higher. We want to identify and treat these wounds as quickly as possible to prevent any further complications.

What type of wounds do we treat at the Claiborne Wound Center?

We see a variety of wounds as well as other medical conditions that benefit from wound care.  We treat patients with diabetic foot wounds, venous and arterial leg wounds, surgical wounds that do not heal properly, radiation injury wounds and people with pressure sores.  In some conditions, the patient may not actually have a visible, open wound.  For example, patients who undergo radiation therapy may develop bleeding or pain from the bladder, bowel or bone that we can effectively treat.

What is the first thing that happens when a patient comes to the wound center?

We do a head to toe assessment for each patient, which includes a detailed history and a thorough physical exam.  One of the most important things in a patient’s history is to identify other complicating factors that may slow wound healing.  Conditions such as diabetes, or are they taking medications like cortisone that can impair the normal healing process? Do they smoke?  Smoking can also affect wound healing.

What does the wound center offer that isn’t available in a doctor’s office?

The Claiborne Wound Center has access to the most advanced wound care products and services available. Wounds are all we do and we understand all factors that complicate the healing process.  We provide a team of wound care trained physicians and nurses who come from a variety of specialties ranging from infectious disease, general surgery, plastic surgery, vascular surgery, and internal medicine.

What are some of the treatments available at the Claiborne Wound Center?

We use a technique to remove unhealthy tissue in the wound bed. This is called debridement. By removing this unhealthy tissue, the wound will respond and begin the healing process more quickly.

Other advanced services include wound pressure offloading using total contact casting, negative pressure wound therapy and special skin grafting products. These services are not typically available in the physician office. Services such as these require special products and training only available in a wound center.

At our partner, Morristown Hamblen Wound Center, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBO, is a proven treatment that speeds wound healing in spite of many complicating factors.  Patients receive daily treatments of 100% oxygen delivered under pressure in a special hyperbaric chamber.  This increases the oxygen in their blood, tissues, and ultimately the wound bed, assisting in the healing process and keeping infections to a minimum.

What about the staff?

Our staff is experienced and trained in wound care. Our physicians work with each patient’s primary care doctor and may also refer to other specialists, including vascular surgery, plastic surgery, orthopedics and lymphedema therapy if needed.

With our multi-disciplinary staff, patients can feel confident that they will be treated by a specialist best suited for their particular wound.

For more information about the Claiborne Wound Center, call (423) 259-3355.  The Claiborne Wound Center is located adjacent to the hospital in the Claiborne Medical Center Medical Office Building at 1610 Tazewell Road, Suite 304, Tazewell, TN.