2008-10-10 / Columnists

SJEH Wellness Corner

Treating the Hard-to-Heal Wound
Commentary By Lloyd Barfield, DPM Chief of Podiatry, Co-Director, Center For Wound Healing

Lloyd Bardfeld, DPM, Chief of Podiatric Medicine and Director of the Podiatric Residency Pro-gram at St. John's Episcopal Hospital, (left) and Gilbert Makabali, MD, Chairman of the Department of Surgery at St. John's, direct the multi-disciplinary wound healing team. They each have more than 30 years of medical experience in treating hard-to-heal wounds. Lloyd Bardfeld, DPM, Chief of Podiatric Medicine and Director of the Podiatric Residency Pro-gram at St. John's Episcopal Hospital, (left) and Gilbert Makabali, MD, Chairman of the Department of Surgery at St. John's, direct the multi-disciplinary wound healing team. They each have more than 30 years of medical experience in treating hard-to-heal wounds. Non-healing wounds caused by diabetes, poor circulation or related conditions affect three to five million Americans a year. These chronic sores may prevent patients from en-joying a quality lifestyle and could become infected and ultimately lead to amputation of a limb.

Diseases such as diabetes cause nerve damage and numbness to the extremities. Feet are especially vul-nerable. Nerve damage may lead pa-tients to fail to recognize the signifi-cance of the sores until infection or ulceration sets in. Non-healing wounds may also be caused by os-teomyelitis, radionecrosis, and lymph edemas. In cases where sores do not respond to first-line treatments, the therapies offered by the Center for Wound Healing at St. John's Episco-pal Hospital may help.

The Center for Wound Healing applies proven wound care practices and advanced clinical approaches, in-cluding hyperbaric oxygen therapy, to help heal patients who suffer from chronic wounds. It also may offer par-ticipation in clinical trials that use the latest wound care products, dressings and antibiotics not yet available to the general public. Soon vascular studies will also be available onsite, which is a diagnostic tool that evaluates the efficiency of one's blood circulation.

Another state-of-the-art therapy offered at the Center is hyperbaric oxygen therapy or HBOT. HBOT is a medical treatment that enhances the body's natural healing and strength-ens the immune system. Delivered by trained wound healing center special-ists, HBOT is an effective treatment option for most chronic wounds.

At the Hospital, a team of multi-disciplinary specialists, including ex-perienced surgeons, podiatric sur-geons, endocrinologists, imaging spe-cialists, ENT, plastic and vascular surgeons, as well as physical medi-cine and rehabilitation physicians, develop individualized treatment plans. The program is supported by a teaching fellowship in wound care where doctors train in the latest techniques.

For more information or to make an appointment for the Hyperbaric Therapy Program at St. John's Episcopal Hospital, please call 718-869-8306.

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