Ask The Doc - Wound Healing Center

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Question: I have a wound that won’t heal, what should I do?

By Dr. Andrew McGown, MD, Internal Medicine and Co-Medical Director, Columbia St. Mary’s Wound Healing Center

A wound that won’t heal is a serious issue. More than just unsightly, a persistent wound can threaten your health. With an aging population – combined with the rise in diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity – stubborn wounds are becoming increasingly common.

At any given time, thousands of Americans are suffering from a non-healing wound. Some of these wounds are complications from diabetes and other vascular disorders, while some may be pressure sores or the result of a traumatic injury. Whatever the cause, a non-healing wound is not something anyone should have to live with, and Columbia St. Mary’s Wound Healing Center can help.

If your wound has persisted for more than three weeks, no matter how big or small, you should seek medical attention immediately. Many non-healing wounds require more advanced care than what can be provided by your primary care provider. If your doctor says you have a diabetic ulcer, pressure ulcer, venous ulcer, arterial ulcer or osteomyelitis (chronic bone infection), you may benefit from the help of a wound healing center.

Columbia St. Mary’s Wound Healing Center boasts a team of specially trained physicians and support staff that provide patients with a comprehensive, personalized treatment plan to deal with problem wounds. The Wound Healing Center Team consists of:

Wound Healing Physicians – Consider many factors when planning a wound care plan, such as general health, nutritional state, cost of treatment and support at home. They also utilize a proven clinical pathway to heal patients quickly and cost-effectively. Evidence based and best practice-driven, the clinical pathway is a starting point meant to support, not supersede, the physician’s interpretation of each patient’s needs.

Certified Wound Ostomy (Continence) Nurses (WOCN) – Provide expert wound, ostomy and continence care as well as offer education, preventive care, specialized therapies and care in a variety of settings for faster healing.

Other Support – Certified Wound Specialists, Registered Nurses and Hyperbaric Technicians.

CSM’s Wound Healing Center provides a variety of treatment offerings, such as nutritional support, treatment of existing infection, compression therapy, specialized wound dressings, removal of dead tissue in or around the wound, skin grafts, occupational and physical therapy, along with education and support. Because a non-healing wound is often the sign of an underlying problem, our staff is trained to address all the factors that might be limiting the healing process.

One of our primary specialty treatment options is Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) Therapy, which can be an effective treatment for certain stubborn wounds that don’t respond to general wound care. During HBO therapy, the patient is placed in the pressurized chamber and breathes 100 percent oxygen, which aids in the growth of new tissue. During HBO therapy, the patient may listen to music, watch television, or many actually nap.

Columbia St. Mary’s Wound Healing Center takes a comprehensive, holistic approach to wound management. At your initial visit, you will receive a complete physical evaluation and tests to help understand the cause of your wound and allow us to create a personalized treatment plan, providing the exact care you need. Once a treatment plan has been established, you will visit the Wound Healing Center on a regular basis for therapy.

If you have a wound that won’t heal, discuss it with your primary care physician right away. Thorough assessment and early treatment can prevent months or even years of needless suffering and, in some cases, preventable amputation.

For more information, or to make an appointment with Columbia St. Mary’s Wound Healing Center, call 414-585-1308 in the Milwaukee area and 262-241-2128 in the Ozaukee area or visit

Dr. Andrew McGown is an internal medicine physician and co-medical director of Columbia St. Mary’s Wound Healing Center.

This article appeared in the August 13 issue of The Ozaukee News Graphic.



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