Wound Healing Therapies
Our Wound Care Center team offers personalized treatment by evaluating your overall health and well-being, not just your wound. There are many factors that affect healing, such as underlying conditions that affect blood flow, your age and your lifestyle. We consider all these aspects when we create your treatment plan.
Our wound care experts work closely with your primary care doctor, dietitians, infection specialists, diabetes experts and other specialists to give you complete care.
Complete Wound Care
El Camino Health offers the latest techniques in wound healing.
Debridement is the removal of dead tissue or foreign material from a wound. This helps remove germs, viruses and other microorganisms that can slow healing or cause infection. Although your body has its own process to remove dead tissue, sometimes it needs additional support for healing.
Your doctor may use one or more types of debridement as part of your treatment, including:
- Autolytic debridement. This method uses bandages to keep the wound moist. The moist environment allows the protein in your wound fluid to turn the dead tissue into liquid. When your doctor or nurse washes your wound, the liquified dead tissue is washed away.
- Mechanical debridement. This procedure uses different types of dressings (bandages) to physically remove dead tissue and debris. For example, your care team puts wet gauze dressing on your wound, which remains there until the bandages dry. When they remove the dressing, dead tissue and debris remain on the bandages.
- Enzymatic debridement. This technique uses chemical enzymes, usually applied as an ointment, to help slough off the dead tissue.
- Excisional debridement. This procedure removes tissue at the wound margin or at the wound base with a sharp instrument to remove unhealthy tissue and debris. Numbing medication is used to minimize discomfort prior to beginning this procedure.
- Surgical debridement. This type of debridement is used for large or infected wounds. A surgeon removes dead tissue using surgical instruments. In some instances, the surgeon may transplant healthy skin from another area of your body to replace damaged tissue (skin grafts). This procedure is usually done in the operating room.
Your care team may use other methods to soften and remove dead or infected tissue to improve healing, such as:
- Negative pressure wound therapy (vacuum therapy). A sealed wound dressing, attached to a pump, that removes excess fluid from the wound and increases blood flow. Since this dressing is changed less frequently (every 48 hours) and fluid is removed from the wound, it also lowers the risk of infection.
Compression therapy improves blood flow and circulation in your lower legs. It's often used to treat venous ulcers and lower-leg swelling that can be caused by a number of health conditions. Compression bandages are one example of compression therapy. These come in single or multiple layers, depending on the level of support you need and when you need it (when you're upright and walking, sitting or lying down).
Skin substitutes are bioengineered dressings that provide cellular and/or non-cellular materials to stimulate the regrowth of tissues and accelerate wound healing.
We use the least invasive methods for wound healing, but more advanced wounds — or underlying vascular disease — may require surgery. The expert surgeons at El Camino Health use the latest techniques to restore blood flow, reconstruct tissue, and improve healing:
- Plastic surgeons use advanced techniques to reconstruct and repair tissue, including skin grafts and delicate surgery to reconnect tiny blood vessels (microsurgery).
- Vascular surgeons use minimally invasive techniques to reopen blocked blood vessels and improve blood flow to improve healing.