We often encounter disease, injuries, disabilities related to cancer, stroke, diabetes, surgery, and catastrophic events as a part of life.  These conditions and events often impact many essential functions of the body. Yet, the effect these have on our skin, the largest organ in the body, is often overlooked.  From a simple rash to a large open wound, it is essential to get the specialty care you need for your skin to get back to healthy tissue.

What Is An Open Wound?

An open wound is any break in the skin from injury, surgery, infection, medical intervention, or disease.

Why Do Open Wounds Occur?

Skin ailments and injuries often show in various forms. The simplest are rashes, lacerations, burns, and animal bites often seen in the emergency room and urgent care facilities. These conditions can also occur due to sports, occupational exposure, environmental injuries, and someone “being at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Are Open Wounds Dangerous?

Open wounds can be dangerous in certain circumstances.  A common mistake patients make with their open wound is they often use home remedies like “letting the air get to it” or putting hydrogen peroxide on it. These types of methods can delay or even worsen the wound. While open wounds are often initially managed in an urgent care clinic, emergency room, or in their primary care office, it does not necessarily result in the complete healing of the wound.

When “open” skin manifests or the open wound becomes a chronic wound (no substantial improvement in a month), it can pose a significant health problem. Open wounds can become infected, cause pain, a blood infection, or even a loss of a limb.

Open Wounds That Do Not Heal Well

While most people heal from wounds without much medical intervention or complications, some do not. They may have lacerations that have reopened or have a skin infection caused by MRSA or strep. They may have a severe burn that causes scars or blunt trauma that causes soft-tissue blood clots. Their wounds may occur or worsen due to diabetes, cancer, smoking, radiation, arthritis, medication side effects, and surgery. In other cases, immobile individuals can develop pressure ulcers or bedsores that require long-term care and multi-specialty involvement.

How Can An Open Wound Heal Faster?

Wounds often heal fast by keeping them clean and moist. Avoiding hydrogen peroxide or air drying is crucial. However, there is no simple answer to helping wounds heal. Most wounds other than simple cuts require medical attention and often a wound specialist.

If a wound is not healing as expected, specialty care can help.  For example, wound care specialists have a deep and wide toolbox to heal wounds. This includes advanced dressings, medications, ointments, artificial skin, and even high-pressure oxygen (hyperbaric oxygen therapy). These treatments help reduce pain and infection and help patients to perform daily tasks better. They can even help prevent amputation and additional surgery. 

Why See A Wound Care Specialist For An Open Wound?

Unfortunately, most formal medical training does not include wound management or wound healing.  Severe open wounds require expert care and may take months to heal. For this reason, seeing a wound specialist is often the best option.  These specialists come from various backgrounds in medicine but have additional training and experience in wound care. They are known for treating a variety of wounds, and most importantly, they have a passion for wound healing.

How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) Can Help Speed Open Wound Healing

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an added benefit used to help fight severe infections and heal difficult wounds that have stalled in healing.  Oxygen is delivered in a pressurized oxygen chamber where it is inhaled and distributed throughout your body in your bloodstream. This extra oxygen helps fight infection and creates new blood vessels to grow your skin. For severe wounds, it can help prevent amputation, control pain, and reduce complications. The treatment usually takes 90 minutes a day, 5 days a week for up to 2 months. HBOT treatments are very safe and have been used for decades to help heal wounds and many chronic medical diseases.

If you have an open wound from surgery, traumatic event, radiation treatment, diabetes, or other condition, consult a wound care and hyperbaric specialist to help.  At R3 Wound Care and Hyperbarics, our caring, professional wound care experts will help you with an individualized plan to ensure your open wound can heal as quickly as possible.

We have locations in the metropolitan areas of Texas, including Dallas-Fort Worth (Lewisville, Flower Mound, Frisco, Keller, and Arlington), Houston (Pearland and Kingwood), and San Antonio (Stone Oak).