Wound is damage to the skin and/or the internal tissues and muscles on any part of the body. Wounds are broadly classified into closed and open wounds. Closed wounds refer to those injuries that have damaged the internal tissues but the skin remain intact or with very little visible damage. Examples of closed wounds are injuries that bleed internally, high impact thrust during an accident etc.
Open wounds are those ranging from small scratches or cuts to large and deep injuries where even the inner tissue or the bone is visible. Such wounds may be caused due to abrasions or injury with sharp objects.
How do wounds heal?
Wound healing happens in stages. As obvious as it might sound, smaller wounds heal in a couple of days and large / deeper wounds take weeks or even months to heal. Immediately after an injury:
- Blood starts to clot in the area in minutes to prevent bleeding. Platelets or thrombocytes are responsible to form the blood clots.
- The clots dry and form a protective layer to prevent bleeding and also to prevent infection.
- Then, as the blood starts to flow into the area (like any other part), the affected area is supplied with oxygen and nutrients that are necessary to heal the wound.
- The white blood cells in the blood also help in fighting off any infection in the area.
- The broken blood vessels and damaged tissues start growing back as oxygen is supplied by the blood. Red blood cells help make collagen that are the basic building blocks for formation of new tissue or repairing existing tissue.
- New skin begins to form on the tissue as the tissue grows inwards making the wound smaller by the day until complete healing occurs.
What if enough blood doesn’t flow to the injured area?
Proper supply of blood is essential to:
- Make collagen for the formation of new tissue.
- Supply oxygen and help in growth of new blood vessels.
- Fight off infection in the area.
When there is not enough blood flow to the injured area, the infection can progress spreading and damaging surrounding skin and tissues. The growth of new blood vessels will be hindered due to less supply of oxygen and as a result healing may not happen and can lead to amputation of the body part to save the rest of the body from the progression of infection.
Such situation can be often seen in diabetics who are suffering from diabetic foot ulcers and wounds that are harder to heal. People suffering from peripheral neuropathy lose sensation in the area and it becomes hard for them to even realize the pain when they are injured.
How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy helps in painless wound healing?
In a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, a person is subjected to inhale nearly 100% oxygen at 2 to 3 times the atmospheric pressure for a period of 90 minutes. During this time, more oxygen gets dissolved in the blood and even little supply of blood to the injured area will be good enough for regeneration of blood vessels (angiogenesis) and promote healing.
As new blood vessels are made by the body, more blood supply is made possible to the affected area after each session. This turns into a cycle. As more blood that is super rich in oxygen is supplied, the faster the wound heals. HBOT (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) in combination with conventional antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines further help boost the wound healing process, reducing the chances of amputation to a very great extent.
Did you know that the life span of most of the people who got their limb(s) amputated due to diabetic wounds or ulcers have only 5 years left to live? This should not surprise you because, a smaller wound led to amputation and how about healing a larger wound that is surgically made?
HBOT comes to the rescue of many people who are suffering from foot sores and wounds by treating diabetic foot ulcers (leg ulcers) and other diabetic wounds in a matter of weeks along with conventional medicines.
Should you go for HBOT if your wound is not healing?
First important thing you should ask is, “How long does it take for an injury/wound to heal?”. Small abrasions, scratches close in around 3 days, little bigger wounds take a week to 10 days and severe injuries may take up to 3 months to heal completely.
If any of your wounds is not healing within 3 months despite doctor’s consultation and proper treatment, you should consider HBOT treatment. You can either directly consult our specialists at Chennai Hyperbaric Oxygen Clinic, T Nagar, Chennai after you are hurt or you can see us as a second opinion clinic for wound treatment when you realize that your wounds are not healing like they should.