Wound Care

From non-healing skin tears, venous leg ulcers to non-healing traumatic injuries- patients at The WCH Wound Care Center receive individualized treatment for chronic wounds by the expert hands of our nurses, and talented General Surgeon, Dr. Robert Ripley, MD, FASC. Several factors help determine your wound treatment plan and the wound center has a variety of specialized dressings, ointments and applications that help to re-establish the body’s healing process. While not all treatments require surgery; if surgery is part of your treatment plan, the procedure will take place on site in our operating theater. 

Wound Care Information:

Healing Process: Generally small wounds that extend through the skin and into the subcutaneous tissue or “thin wounds” such as abrasions will heal when kept clean and protected. Small wounds heal by the process of contraction and epithelialization. Skin does not want to be separated from skin and healing is the body’s natural response when a wound occurs. However, certain injuries, trauma, age and existing medical conditions such as diabetes, and poor circulation can lead to chronic wounds that will not heal properly with routine care.  

Chronic Wounds: Some wounds do not heal in an orderly set of stages and in a predictable amount of time the way most wounds do. Wounds that do not heal within three months are often considered chronic. It is this this type of wound that is treated in the Wickenburg Community Hospital’s Wound Care Center.

Types of Chronic Wounds:

  • Infectious Wounds: When infection causes significant delays in healing, the wound often becomes chronic. Typical signs of chronic infectious wounds include bad odors, pus drainage, dead tissue, inflammation, redness and pain.
  • Traumatic Injury: Severe trauma or injury, such as wounds caused by a car accident, can cause tissue loss as well as body part and organ damage that leads to a chronic wound.

Ulcers: There are several different kinds of chronic ulcers, including:

  • Arterial ulcers: Often caused by hypertension, plugging or clotting, arterial ulcers occur due to disrupted blood flow to the affected area. They often develop on legs and feet and can cause pain when the patient’s legs are active or elevated.
  • Diabetic ulcers: Patients with diabetes often develop foot ulcers, especially when neuropathy causes a loss of feeling in their lower extremities. 
  • Pressure ulcers: Also known as bed sores, pressure ulcers develop when constant weight and friction on a specific area for a long duration of time cause the skin to tear. This chronic ulcer is especially common on the back, ankles and feet.  Symptoms include redness, itching, blistering, swelling and discoloration in the affected area.
  • Venous ulcers: When vein valves fail to transport blood properly, venous ulcers can develop where the blood pools and causes swelling. They typically develop on the legs, especially between the ankle and knee. Venous ulcers are often irregular in shape and can cause severe pain.

All chronic wounds require careful management to prevent further delays in healing.

Types of Wound Care:  Some chronic wounds have excessive drainage and need an agent that will absorb the drainage while treating a concurrent infection.  Other wounds may have a biofilm, caused by the bacteria that exist on our skin.

A biofilm is formed when certain types of microorganisms adhere themselves to the wound surface. Chronic biofilm infections prevent the normal wound healing process of contraction and epithelialization and are persistent and hard to eradicate. Fortunately, there are specialized medications and minor surgery that can renew the healing process.

Wound Care Tips: Some home remedies such as antibiotic ointments and hydrogen peroxide can interfere with the healing process and some bacterial infections like Staph are resistant to normal healing.  So, before you do anything more than keep your wound clean and covered, please consult with a physician. In addition; if it is suspected that you have a difficult wound to heal- don’t wait, make an appointment with your doctor. 

 

Questions About Wound Care?

Call Dr. Robert Ripley:  928-668-5506

This information is meant to be informative but not prescriptive. Their purpose is to provide information on diseases and processes, rather than dictate a specific form of diagnosis or treatment. The ultimate judgment regarding the propriety of any specific procedure must be made by the physician after all the circumstances are presented by the individual patient. 

Primary Care

Community Hospital Clinics are located in Wickenburg, Wittmann, and Congress. We sincerely follow our mission to provide quality health and wellness services where the patient, family, and community come first.

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Emergency Care

Our 8 bed Emergency Room department is fully staffed with emergency physicians, nurses, and ER specialists. Your wait time is typically measured in minutes not hours as in the larger metropolitan hospitals.

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Surgical Services

Wickenburg Community Hospital provides a wide variety of surgical care and treatment. We serve a vibrant and active community who favors quality health care close to home.

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