Types of Advanced Wound Therapies

Everyone encounters wounds in life, whether they are the result of trauma, surgery, or chronic medical conditions. Although our bodies have a natural capacity to heal themselves, there are instances when the process requires a little support. It is where advanced wound therapies come to help. These advanced wound therapies aim to improve the body’s natural healing capacity, resulting in a quicker and more complete recovery.

For centuries, people have cleaned, dressed, and applied antibiotic ointments to wounds using traditional techniques. While they work well for minor cuts, they are usually not suitable for more extensive or more persistent wounds. 

On the other hand, advanced wound therapies make use of innovative instruments and methods to promote quicker and more effective healing. In this article, we are going to explore the different types of advanced wound therapies.

Types of Advanced Wound Therapies

These are some of the advanced wound therapies that are available to help patients speed up the healing process and improve patient outcomes. The advanced wound therapies include:

Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT)

NPWT (or negative pressure wound therapy) is a therapeutic approach that creates negative pressure around the wound by using a vacuum to push a sealed dressing through it. This technique reduces swelling and increases circulation by draining the wound of extra fluid and bacteria. Also, the negative pressure promotes the growth of granulation tissue, which helps gather the wound’s edges.

NPWT offers several advantages, such as quicker healing, lower infection risk, smaller wounds, and more patient comfort. It works exceptionally well on overall wounds like pressure ulcers, diabetic ulcers, and difficult surgical wounds. 

Unfortunately, not all patients can benefit from NPWT. Patients with untreated osteomyelitis or necrotic tissue with eschar should not undergo this procedure due to possible risks such as pain or discomfort from the vacuum, bleeding, or infection.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) involves inhaling pure oxygen under pressure, which raises blood oxygen levels and supports the body’s healing mechanisms. HBOT helps heal wounds by increasing the oxygen supply to traumatised tissues, lowering swelling and inflammation, and inciting the growth of new blood vessels.

It is used to treat severe burns and crush injuries, long-term osteomyelitis, radiation-induced tissue damage, and non-healing diabetic foot ulcers. HBOT is generally safe, but there is a chance of oxygen toxicity, temporary changes in vision, and pressure in the ears and nasal passages. Before receiving HBOT, patients should be thoroughly examined to make sure they are suitable for the treatment.

Bioengineered Skin Substitutes

Bioengineered skin substitutes are skin substitutes that are grown in a lab and are intended to resemble natural skin to cover and protect wounds and speed up the healing process. There are two primary categories of these replacements: biological and synthetic. 

While biological substitutes, derived from human or animal tissues, offer a more natural healing environment and are commonly used for permanent wound coverage, synthetic substitutes, made from artificial materials, are often used as temporary wound covers. 

Bioengineered skin substitutes are used to treat severe burns, diabetic ulcers, and chronic wounds. They offer advantages like faster healing, lower infection risk, and better cosmetic results.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is another advanced treatment method that involves extracting a small sample of the patient’s blood, typically from their arm, and processed to concentrate the platelets. After that, the wound site in need of treatment is directly injected with these concentrated platelets, which are numerous in growth factors and other bioactive proteins.

These platelets release growth factors that are essential to the healing process because they stimulate tissue repair and cell growth, start new blood vessel formation, and increase the production of collagen, which is necessary for the flexibility and strength of the skin. PRP therapy has also been shown to lessen inflammation, which further helps the healing process. 

This therapy’s ability to improve results and speed up healing has contributed to its use in a variety of medical specialities, including sports medicine, orthopaedics, and dermatology.

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy uses special cells that can transform into different cell types to fix and grow new tissue, which can help wounds get better. Embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells are the three types of stem cells that are frequently used in wound therapy; each has specific benefits and uses. 

A useful therapeutic option for a variety of wound types, stem cell therapy has shown promise in improving tissue regeneration, decreasing scar formation, and speeding up healing times.

However, there are a few key issues that need to be carefully considered, such as whether using embryonic stem cells is ethically acceptable and whether the cells are compatible and won’t be rejected by the body.

Growth Factor Therapy

Growth factors, which are proteins that control cell division and growth, are desirable targets for treatment because they are essential to the wound healing process. These proteins are applied directly to wounds as part of growth factor therapy, which aims to accelerate the healing process, increase angiogenesis, and encourage the growth of cells.

This type of therapy has an opportunity to significantly improve outcomes and lower complications in the treatment of burns, diabetic ulcers, chronic and non-healing wounds, and surgical wounds. 

The drawbacks of growth factor therapy, such as high costs, limited availability, and potential side effects, highlight the need for more research and development to maximise its effectiveness and accessibility.

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy is yet another therapeutic approach that uses concentrated light energy to accelerate the healing of wounds. Lasers stimulate cellular activity, reduce inflammation, and promote collagen synthesis by focusing light onto the affected area. These effects are critical for effective wound healing.

This therapy offers benefits for a range of wound types, such as burns, chronic ulcers, and surgical wounds, providing patients with an efficient means of enhancing the course of their healing process. 

Although laser therapy is generally safe when practised by qualified professionals, there are possible risks that could arise if it is not used correctly, including burns or skin damage.

Conclusion

In conclusion, advanced wound therapies provide innovative approaches to managing challenging wounds, which have several advantages, including accelerating healing and lowering the risk of infection. These treatments can be adjusted to fit each patient’s requirements by using various mechanisms, which greatly enhances wound care management.

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