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Wounds and Surgical Healing

Clinic Naturopathic Doctors provide patients with therapies for enhanced healing of wounds post surgery.  Naturopaths of the Nardella Clinic in Calgary have had great success with problem wounds, post surgical healing, post plastic surgery, and osteomyelitis.

A wound is an injury to the skin or underlying structures.  The damage may be from a mechanical, heat, physical trauma, surgical or metabolic disorder such as diabetes.  Many people will have minor wounds throughout their life that will heal without any medical intervention.  However, a chronic non-healing wound requires specialized care to prevent further damage to the underlying tissue.  Conditions usually associated with non-healing wounds are diabetes, cancers, immunodeficiency, arterial insufficiency, corticosteroid use, surgical complications and other conditions that compromise circulation.  Chronic wounds are hindered in the healing process by circulation problems that stops oxygenated blood from getting to the wound, presence of infection and inflammation.

Common Examples of Chronic Non-healing Wounds

Diabetic Wounds

Diabetics are at high risk for developing foot ulcers due to a neuropathy (decreased ability to feel pain), vascular disease (decreased circulation) and hyperglycemia (decreased ability to fight infections).  These wounds have a huge impact to the quality of life and economic impact for those affected.  Approximately 25% of diabetics will develop a diabetic foot ulcer in their lifetime.  Many studies suggest that half of these ulcers are clinically infected.  Early assessment and treatment intervention can not only heal the ulcer but dramatically decrease the risk of amputation.

Venous Ulcers

A venous ulcer or stasis ulcer is a result of chronic venous insufficiency.  Risk factors include older age, immobility, deep vein thrombosis, obesity, malfunction of the veins of the lower leg, clotting disorders, and varicose veins.  This can cause a venous hypertension.  The patient experiences a painful ulcer usually located over a bony prominence of the lower leg.

Arterial Ulcers

Arterial ulcer or ischemic wound is a result of poor arterial blood flow to the lower leg.  It is generally associated with peripheral vascular disease.  Risk factors include smoking, obesity, hyperlipidemia, hypertension and diabetes.  These wounds will usually appear over the toes, heels and bony prominences of the foot.  Arterial ulcers are more painful than venous ulcers.

Pressure Ulcer

Pressure ulcers or bedsores is wound to the skin and underlying tissue caused by laying in one position for too long.  Bedsores are often located over a bony prominence such as low back, hips or heels.  Pressure ulcers are common in long-term care facilities in patients with limited mobility.  These ulcers can lead to serious infection and can be slow to heal.

Frostbite Injury

Frostbite results from exposure to cold temperatures.  The intensity of the injury to the skin and underlying tissues depends on the length of exposure, altitude, humidity and the current health of the individual.  The hands, feet or any exposed tissue are susceptible to frostbite damage.  As the body is exposed to cold, the vessels in the arms and legs constrict to send blood to the vital organs.  Ice crystals form in the tissue contributing to further blockage of blood and oxygen to the tissue.  As the arms and legs are warmed, blood returns carrying oxygen.  However, because the blood vessels are damaged blood leaks into the surrounding tissue causing further inflammation and tissue damage.

Symptoms include numbness, tingling, burning and itching. The skin looks white and frozen.  In more severe cases blisters will form and the patient will experience severe pain.

Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis is inflammation in the bone commonly due to an infection.  Many different bacteria can be associated with osteomyelitis.  The bacteria can be introduced to the bone in a number of ways such as trauma, surgical procedures or secondary to vascular insufficiency.  If acute osteomyletis is not treated quickly and aggressively enough it can become chronic osteomyelitis affecting a decrease in blood flow and a decrease in oxygen in the area.  The patient will experience pain, fevers, redness, inflammation and warmth at the site of infection.

Thermal Burns

Thermal Burns results from contact with an external heat source.  Common sources of heat include steam, liquids, hot cooking oil and fire.  Thermal burns can be classified as superficial (first degree), partial thickness (second degree) or full thickness (third degree).  The intensity of the injury is a direct result of the exposure.  Our skin is our largest organ and if compromised affects our barrier to invading organisms, impairs our immune functions and predisposes us to infection.

Clinic Naturopathic Doctors utilize these key therapies to help patients heal wounds and post-surgery:

  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
  • Topical Application of Ozone
  • Nutritional Supplementation
  • Immune System Support