Non-healing Wound Treatment
Open sores, often called ulcers or non-healing wounds, are a result of poor blood flow to your legs. Without enough blood flow, the sores will likely not heal on their own. By determining the underlying cause of your wounds, we can help resolve the issue and potentially avoid amputation.
Revascularization is an alternative to amputation. Our interventional radiologists are passionate about helping patients save a limb. If you’ve been told you need an amputation because of a wound or ulcer, seek a second opinion by calling for a consultation.
We will work with you to determine a treatment plan based on your type of wound. Our interventional radiologists and vascular staff will review any pre- and post- instructions so you know exactly what to expect.
The treatment for non-healing wounds depends on the type of wound you have. We see anyone with non-healing wounds on their legs and feet. Lower extremity ulcers include:
- Venous stasis
What You Need To Know
Common risk factors for developing non-healing wounds include:
- Kidney disease
- Poor blood flow caused by blocked arteries
- Tobacco use
- Venous insufficiency
Symptoms for non-healing wounds include:
- Color changes in the skin around the wound, usually a black or dark bluish color
- Redness, swelling or pain around the wound
- Fluid discharge
An arterial ulcer is caused by a lack of oxygen-rich blood reaching the tissues in the leg and foot due to a blocked artery. These ulcers are often found on the feet. They are usually yellow, brown, black or gray in color and have a “punched-out” appearance. They are usually painful.
If you have a history of diabetes, heart disease or stroke, you may have circulation issues in other parts of your body and may develop arterial ulcers because of poor circulation or poor arterial blood flow.
- Revascularization opens the blocked arteries from inside the vein. During your procedure, the interventional radiologist will insert a thin catheter into a blood vessel through a small nick in the skin. The catheter will be threaded under X-ray guidance to the site of the blocked artery. The location of the blockages and type of symptoms you have will help the doctor determine the best way to treat your blockages. The options include:
Angioplasty (balloons to open the artery):
- A catheter with a balloon is passed through the blocked artery. Once inflated, the balloon compresses the plaque against the wall of the artery.
- Atherectomy (devices used to remove the plaque inside the artery):
- A special catheter is used to gently shave and remove plaque from the arteries.
- Stent Implantation (small pieces of metal to hold open the artery):
- During angioplasty, a tiny metal mesh tube called a stent may be placed in the artery to help hold it open.
Venous Stasis Ulcers
If you have venous insufficiency (veins that don’t work properly), the veins may fail to move old blood out of the legs and back to the heart for recirculation. When this happens, you may notice skin changes, swelling and decreased healing which can lead to open sores (called venous ulcers).
Venous ulcers are primarily located in the lower legs, anywhere from below the knee to just above the ankle. The ulcer is usually red in color and may drain clear, yellow or green fluid.
- Endovenous ablation is a minimally invasive procedure for treating incompetent or leaking veins. Under ultrasound guidance, a laser fiber or radiofrequency probe will be placed inside the non-functioning vein. After the area around the vein is anesthetized, the device will be activated and slowly pulled back to destroy the vein. This will stop the leakage of blood into the veins in your legs and, in most instances, will improve your symptoms.
Neuropathic ulcers are primarily caused due to decreased sensation on pressure points of the bottom and sides of your feet. Their appearance varies but may be pink, red, brown or black. They are usually “punched out” in appearance and the surrounding skin is calloused.
If you have diabetes or a decreased sensation in your feet, you are at risk of developing neuropathic ulcers. These wounds require good foot care as well as removal of pressure on the wound with proper footwear.
You will be sent to our partner clinic for a special boot to be created. This will help remove pressure on the wound and allow it to heal.
Often seen on the edges of your foot, neuroischaemic ulcers can also develop on the tips of toes and beneath any toenails that become overly thick.
Treatment for neuroischaemic ulcers requires both revascularization as well as a specially created boot.
- Revascularization opens the blocked arteries from inside the vein. During your procedure, the interventional radiologist will insert a thin catheter into a blood vessel through a small nick in the skin. The catheter will be threaded under X-ray guidance to the site of the blocked artery. The location of the blockages and type of symptoms you have will help the doctor determine the best way to treat your blockages. Once the procedure is complete, you will be sent to a clinic to have a special boot created to allow the wound to heal.