A frail, elderly diabetic man was referred to my office with a very bad bedsore to his heel. His heel was in terrible condition: black, gangrenous, and poor circulation. This gentleman was on the verge of losing his leg and desperate for any other alternatives. Action was required immediately. He obviously didn’t want to lose his leg and if this infection had gotten to the bone, amputation was surely required.
Over a period of approximately six months, he came in to see me once a week. During his weekly visit, I was able to carefully and consistently debride the wound — removing the dead tissue while leaving healthy tissue intact.
Today’s advanced wound care techniques also involve the use of products like Apligraf®, which is essentially like synthetic human skin. Living human skin cells are grown in a lab and applied to a layer of collagen, which ultimately produces a product that we can apply directly to a wound to reinforce the body’s natural healing processes.
I like to compare it to a road construction project. You drive by and see a truck and a few workers. They’ll get the job done eventually. But when you haul in more trucks and more workers, they get the job done much faster. This is how Apligraf® works: essentially we’re bringing in the additional protein and collagen that the body needs to heal the wound faster. The young cells in Apligraf® get absorbed into the wound and help to create healthy new tissue where it should be.
With weekly wound care — through debridement and use of Apligraf® — the old dead skin tissue gradually was removed and replaced by new, healthy skin. By the time we finished, this gentleman had a healthy foot and was no longer in jeopardy of losing his leg. I was very pleased with the ultimate result, as was the patient’s vascular surgeon. Needless to say the man who kept his leg was elated!
This was a bit of a close call. If you or someone you love has a wound — particularly one in the lower extremities — that isn’t healing properly or continues to worsen, please schedule an appointment in our Bradenton Podiatry or Sarasota Podiatry office right away.
If you’re not within driving distance of Sarasota or Bradenton, please find a Podiatrist or wound care center in your area.