Center for Wound Healing
M-F 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
There’s no longer any reason to live with an open sore
In the United States, chronic wounds affect 6.5 million patients. At the UM Charles Regional Center for Wound Healing we treat these wounds and work to prevent reoccurrence by correcting contributing factors such as controlling infection and enhancing medical and nutritional status.
A multidisciplinary approach
The Center for Wound Healing is staffed with a unique team of specialists all dedicated to healing chronic wounds. The combined knowledge of our team members creates a multidisciplinary approach to wound management. We are dedicated to healing wounds that have not responded to traditional treatment.
State of the Art Treatment
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
- Wound dressings
- Wound debridement
- Bio-engineered tissue substitutes
- Platelet growth technologies
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) Therapy?
HBO is a medical treatment that increases the amount of oxygen in the patient’s blood, allowing oxygen to pass more easily through the plasma into the wounds to heal them. HBO chambers surround patients with 100% oxygen.
Who requires extra oxygen?
Usually, there is no benefit to increasing the level of oxygen in the body for normal, healthy individuals. People with certain medical conditions do, however, benefit from increased levels of oxygen.
How do I find out if HBO is for me?
If you have a wound that hasn’t healed in four weeks, consult the Wound Healing Center. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be an appropriate part of the treatment plan. A physician at the center will evaluate your wound and determine the best course of treatment.
Can someone stay with me during therapy?
To protect the privacy of our patients, family members may not remain with you during your treatment. A waiting room is provided for their comfort. A trained technician is always in the room during treatment and can communicate with you at any time.
What should I wear?
Since safety is our priority, we will provide you with clothing to wear during your treatment. Please do not wear any of the following items when you come to the center for HBO therapy:
- Contact lenses
- Wigs or hair pieces
- Nail polish
- Skin lotions
- Perfume, cologne, or aftershave
- Jewelry, including watches and earrings
- Hair spray or oils
What should I bring with me?
You don’t need to bring anything. If you have diabetes, make sure you eat before your treatment begins. If your sinuses are congested or you feel ill, let the technician know so we can make you more comfortable.
Some potential candidates maybe people with diabetes who have wounds that are slow to heal; people with wounds that haven’t shown improvement in four weeks; people with certain bone and skin infections; people with radiation injuries; and people with compromised or failing skin grafts or flaps.
Do I have to go somewhere else for these treatments?
No, you’ll come here to the Wound Healing Center for treatment. Your therapy will be supervised by a specially-trained physician and monitored by a technician each day.
How long do HBO treatments last?
On average, treatments last about two hours. This includes the time to pressurize and depressurize the chamber plus 90 minutes at the prescribed treatment pressure.
How many HBO treatments will I need?
The number of HBO treatments is not pre-set because each person responds differently to the therapy. The average number of treatments required to heal a patient with a problem wound is 20 to 40.
How many times a day will I be treated?
For most chronic wounds, HBO therapy each weekday is sufficient.
Is HBO therapy covered by my insurance?
Medicare has approved coverage for HBO therapy for many types of non-healing wounds. Most private insurance companies follow Medicare’s guidelines, as well. We will review your insurance plan with you before your therapy starts to make sure you know what your costs will be.
Is HBO therapy painful?
No, the only sensation you will experience is during the pressurization phase of the treatment. The slowly increasing pressure will push on your eardrums. This is exactly the same feeling you would experience when landing in an airplane or diving to the bottom of a swimming pool. The hyperbaric staff will instruct you about different methods of relieving this ear pressure.
Is HBO therapy dangerous?
No, the treatment is very safe. Your Wound Healing Center has very strict procedures that assure your safety and make your treatment comfortable. Before your first treatment, you will be given a thorough orientation.
What can I do during HBO therapy? Can I read a book or newspaper?
Each chamber is equipped with its own television so that you can watch TV or a movie during your treatment. You may not bring anything in the chamber with you, including books and newspapers. Many patients simply use the time to catch up on some well-deserved rest.
Are there any bathroom facilities in the chamber?
No, however it is possible to take a bedpan or urinal in with you during your treatment. The staff can finish the treatment early, if required.
What if I feel claustrophobic?
Interestingly enough, most hyperbaric patients do not suffer from claustrophobia. This could be due to either the large size of the chamber or the fact that it has a clear acrylic shell. From inside the chamber, it is possible to see out in all directions. If you still feel anxious about your treatment, the hyperbaric physician can prescribe medication that will relax you and make your treatment less stressful.
How can I communicate with the technician?
The chamber is equipped with two way communication. You can talk to the outside technician at any time. The technician can talk to you through the chamber microphone.
Wound Patient Information
What to expect on your first visit
- You or your physician will call for an appointment.
- Bring all medications you are currently taking, including over the counter medications and a list of allergies with you on your first visit.
- Bring insurance information for verification.
- Our team of physicians and nurses will evaluate your wound, health and medical history including x-rays if you have them.
- Tests may be conducted to determine blood flow and tissue oxygenation as well as to indicate if there is any infection present.
- Together with your physician, we’ll develop a treatment program based on our assessment of your individual needs.
Your role in healing
Much of the success of your treatment depends on you. We count on you to follow directions carefully and watch your progress closely. You’ll learn to care for your wound at home and how to protect yourself from further injuries. The staff at the Wound Healing Center is available to answer questions and give you the support you need.
Wound Types and Risk Factors
Treating wounds is a complex task. Each case is unique and patients will heal at varying rates. The Wound Healing Center staff is prepared to handle a variety of different wounds which includes:
- Any wound failing to improve with multiple treatments or therapies
- Diabetic foot ulcers
- Lower leg ulcers
- Pressure ulcers
- Bone infection (osteomyelitis)
- Skin tears or lacerations
- Late effects of radiation therapy
- Post-operative infections
- Slow or non-healing surgical wounds
- Compromised skin flaps or grafts
Certain risk factors may lead to chronic wounds, such as:
- Poor diet
- Circulation problems
- High blood sugar
- Kidney disease
- Certain medications
- Inability to adhere to your individual plan of care