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What are the treatments for diabetic foot ulcers? Can amputation be avoided?

At the Center for Wound Care we use a variety of treatment modalities that are not available in the majority of physician offices. Treatment requires evaluation of the patient to check circulatory status to see if blood supply can be improved as well as examination for evidence of infection. Regular treatment of the wound typically includes debridement (removal of dead and infected tissue) and the use of various wound products to stimulate healing.

We have seen success using bioengineered grafts containing living human cells as well as total contact casts which relieve pressure on the foot. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment has also proven to be beneficial in the more severe diabetic ulcers, preventing one in four amputations resulting from chronic diabetic wounds. The hyperbaric oxygen chamber delivers 100 percent oxygen under pressure. The increase in oxygen delivered to the tissues stimulates the development of new blood vessels. It also provides a positive effect on white blood cells to help fight infection and helps reduce swelling as well as stimulating healing by increasing the production of collagen and growth factors and mobilizing stem cells.

With standard wound care a diabetic foot ulcer has a 25 percent chance of healing within 12 weeks and just 30 percent at 24 weeks. With advanced treatment modalities, we have achieved a healing rate of 84 percent in an average of 31 days.

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