Curious about the patient experience at the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center? Learn more with our frequently asked questions below:
What will happen during my wound evaluation?
Your wound will be cleaned, examined and measured. After seeing the physician you will be provided with information on how to care for your wound. If your wound is located on your lower extremities your feet will be tested for how much feeling you have and if your blood flow is healthy. Findings will be discussed with your referring doctor so care is coordinated appropriately.
What do I need to bring?
Bring your insurance card, a list of medications that you are taking and an ID card (driver's license in most cases). Also bring any information regarding the treatment of your wound.
Do I need a referral?
In most cases you do not need a referral unless your insurance dictates that you do. You can refer yourself. Call the Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine Center at 410-787-4900 to schedule an appointment.
What about follow-up visits?
You will be seen on a regular basis and each time your wound will be re-examined for progression towards healing. If tests have been ordered the doctor will review results and answer any additional questions you have about caring for your wound.
What are chronic wounds?
A chronic wound is a wound that fails to heal within one month. These wounds prevent the skin from performing its normal function of protecting against infection and holding nutrients within the body. Often these wounds are complicated by one or more chronic illnesses such as diabetes or atherosclerosis (poor blood flow). Such wounds can affect the whole person and lead to serious infections of the bone and sometimes of the blood, resulting in costly treatment, amputation, loss of independence, reduced quality of life and/or death.
What is soft tissue radiation injury?
Radiation, while effective in the treatment of cancerous tumor cells, is not selective in the tissue it targets. In other words, while effectively destroying cancerous tumor cells, radiation can also cause damage to healthy tissue. This damage can occur anywhere between two weeks to 20 years after treatment. More often than not, there are no symptoms of radiation injury for at least five years.
What are the symptoms of soft tissue radiation injury?
The symptoms of radiation injury are usually not as visible as typical chronic wounds. This is because soft tissue radiation damage often begins in the tissue or bone. Symptoms of radiation injury can be harder to detect. Your doctor must first rule out other possible causes of these symptoms because they could be an indication of a different health problem. Depending on the location of the previous radiation therapy, these symptoms could include: presence of blood in your urine, rectal bleeding, vaginal discharge and pain.
Why is oxygen the key to healing?
Until recently, there has been no satisfactory treatment for radiation damage. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy fills this long-standing need. Radiation damage causes a lack of oxygen in the body's tissues. Hyperbaric oxygen helps fight this damage by increasing the amount of oxygen within the tissues, which aids in recovery. Like any therapy, hyperbaric oxygen is not a cure-all; however, approximately 60 to 80% of patients will experience either improvement or complete resolution of soft tissue radiation injury.