Wound Care FAQ
What is a chronic wound?
A chronic wound is generally a wound that doesn’t start to heal within four weeks or hasn’t healed within eight weeks.
What causes a chronic wound?
While underlying causes of chronic wounds vary from patient to patient, they tend to occur in patients with poor blood circulation, diabetes, poor nutrition, or for other reasons related to a patient’s condition. Pressure ulcers (sometimes called ‘bed sores’), for example, can develop in nursing home patients who are confined to bed, and can evolve into chronic wounds.
Likewise, for a person with diabetes, a simple foot blister may result in a chronic open sore, serious infection, gangrene, and may even require amputation. An estimated eight million Americans suffer from chronic wounds. Wounds come from a variety of different medical conditions, and they don’t heal for many different reasons.
How are chronic wounds evaluated and treated?
At Bluebonnet Wound Center and Hyperbarics, each patient undergoes an initial evaluation of the wound, medical history, and current health. Blood tests, and other laboratory work-ups that provide information about blood and oxygen flow, may be ordered.
Once test results are compiled, the physician determines if an underlying condition, such as diabetes, is inhibiting the natural healing process. The treatment process for each wound is different and tailored to the needs of the individual patient.
What problems can result from chronic wounds?
If left untreated, chronic wounds can lead to serious problems. This may include infection, gangrene (dead tissue from lack of blood flow), and in the worst cases, amputation.
What can I do to prevent chronic foot wounds?
These are general suggestions and are not meant as specific advice for any particular person, wound, or circumstance. These precautions are particularly important for diabetics.
- Protect your feet! Don’t go barefoot. It doesn’t matter if you are inside or outside.
- Check your feet every day. Look for any cuts, bruises, callouses and any open areas. If you find anything abnormal, contact your Care Center.
- Put lotion or cream on your feet every day after bathing.
- Avoid exposing your feet to dangerous temperatures, such as hot pavement. Wear sunblock on your feet. Don’t use hot water bottles or heating pads when your feet are cold. Instead, wear loose-fitting socks.
- Trim nails straight across without cutting into the corners. This can lead to ingrown toenails.
- Don’t cut or remove corns or calluses yourself. Do not use over the counter products without first consulting your physician.
- Wear comfortable shoes that fit well.
- Don’t wear shoes without socks or stockings. Avoid socks and stockings with seams. It’s best to wear cotton and cotton blends. Change socks daily.
- If a non-healing foot sore occurs, contact Bluebonnet Wound Center and Hyperbarics.
Will I have to change my primary doctor or specialist?
No. In fact, the Wound Care Center prefers to work with your physician or medical specialist during the treatments. We even keep your doctor informed with frequent progress reports.
While you’ll be receiving treatment for your wound from the Wound Center, you’ll continue to receive all of your routine care from your primary physician.
Does Insurance cover specialized wound care treatments?
Many health plans cover Wound Care treatments. Call us to determine what your specific plan covers.
How do I get a consultation from the Bluebonnet Wound Center and Hyperbarics?
You may call the wound center directly or be referred by your doctor. To make an appointment directly, call 512-763-HEAL (4325). A referral may be required by your insurance carrier. Please check with either your insurance or your family doctor.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy FAQ
How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Works
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOt) delivers 100 percent oxygen in a pressurized environment. The oxygen-rich blood and blood plasma promotes healing, particularly for chronic wounds in patients with diabetes. HBOt will increase the body’s own healing factors, stimulate new blood vessel growth in wound tissue, assist with tissue regeneration, healing, and helps to stimulate and maintain healthy tissue.
Am I a candidate for HBOt?
After you present to the Bluebonnet Wound Center and Hyperbarics, Dr. McKinney will conduct a thorough examination and confirm whether treatment is appropriate. If you are a candidate, a plan of care will be designed just for you.
The Food and Drug Administration has compiled a list of 15 approved reasons to undergo HBOt. As a result Medicare and Medicaid have adopted this same list as approved reasons and most private insurance have followed along. You are encouraged to discuss your options with Dr. McKinney or any of the staff at Bluebonnet Wound Center and Hyperbarics.
Conditions that we commonly treat with HBOt include:
- Problematic wounds, including infected,diabetic wounds and non-healing wounds of the lower extremity if the patient has Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, a wound classified as Wagner Grade III or higher, and who has failed at least 30 days of treatment with standard therapy
- Chronic non-healing wounds
- Infections including chronic bone infections
- Radiation injuries from radiation treatment for cancer
- Crush injuries
- Skin grafts or flaps that are not healing properly
- Chronic refractory osteomyelitis when conventional treatment does not help
- Osteoadionecrosis and soft tissue radionecrosis
- Acute traumatic peripheral ischemia
- Sutured severed limbs
- Urinary hemorrhagic cystitis
- Acute peripheral arterial insufficiency
- Actinomycosis, when the disease process is not responding to antibiotics or surgical treatments
- Fractures that have not mended or healed as expected*
- Non-healing surgical incisions*
*With advanced care planning and prior authorization
What is it like to have the Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy?
During this painless treatment, you will rest on a comfortable bed in one of our roomy acrylic, pressurized chambers while breathing pure 100% oxygen. You can relax, sleep, watch television, or listen to music during the sessions, which generally last two hours. Patients of all ages can benefit from these treatments.
During the first few minutes you will feel very warm. Then the temperature will adjust to a comfortable setting. You might notice a change in pressure in your ears (similar to when an airplane changes altitude). To protect your ears from pressure changes, you will be taught different techniques to clear them, thus avoiding the feeling of fullness in your ears.
When we schedule your treatment, we will provide detailed instructions, but don’t hesitate to ask our staff if you have any questions during your stay with us.
Our HBOT-trained physician and certified technicians are there at all times to monitor each treatment session.
How often will I come for therapy?
Depending on your condition, the frequency and number of visits will vary. Patients with wound-healing problems usually require about 20-40 treatments, and most are scheduled once daily.
If you have an acute condition such as decompression illness or carbon monoxide poisoning, only one or two treatments may be required.
Does Insurance cover Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy treatments?
Many health plans cover HBO treatments as they would any other procedure. Call us to determine what your specific plan covers.
What if I have additional questions?
Were here to answer any questions you have. Please call our friendly staff at 512-763-HEAL (4325).