Holy Name Medical Center Blog

Don’t Ignore a Wound that is Not Healing

Posted by Stavros Christoudias, MD, FACS
Medical Director, Holy Name Institute for Wound Healing on December 16, 2021
Stavros Christoudias, MD, FACS

Many people believe that only those with diabetes suffer from chronic wounds that do not heal. However, there are many other medical conditions that can cause chronic wounds, including vascular diseases, cancer, and burns.

At the Holy Name Institute for Wound Healing, we have had great success in healing almost all persistent wounds. We utilize a focused, multidisciplinary treatment approach that is not found elsewhere.

Our panel of specialists – including board-certified plastic surgeons, vascular surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, and infectious disease specialists - assesses all hard-to-heal wounds and treats them with the latest technologies and most effective protocols. The Institute also provides an on-site support system that features infectious disease management, physical and occupational therapy, pain management, laboratory evaluations, and nutritional and diabetes education to address each patient’s overall health.

A Wound Epidemic

A chronic wound is one that has not progressed through the normal healing process and is open for more than one month. We are currently experiencing a wound epidemic, due to an unprecedented interruption in maintenance care during the pandemic for many chronic conditions, including diabetes and atherosclerosis. Chronic wounds and ulcers, or sores, may also arise following surgery, traumatic injuries and burns, and vascular diseases.

Increasingly, we are also treating wounds that are caused by irritation from radiation therapy, particularly in patients who are recovering from breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers.

Non-healing wounds are serious and can be life-altering, leading to complications including amputation and even death. The faster wounds are treated, the better the outcome. At the Institute, wounds are our main focus and healing is our goal.

Our Advanced Therapies

The Holy Name Institute for Wound Healing was revitalized by RestorixHealth, a leading developer and operator of advanced wound healing centers. Wounds can heal at least as quickly at a comprehensive center like ours, which has been recognized as having the most effective care and shortest treatment-to-heal times in the country. The Institute has the expertise and therapies to quickly address medical issues that have allowed wounds to linger. We have many tools in our armamentarium, including topical treatments and dressings, bioengineered tissue and grafts, implants, debridement, negative pressure, and growth factor therapies.

The Institute has also had great success in treating chronic wounds with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), which utilizes a full-body pressurized chamber filled with 100% oxygen. Injured tissue needs more oxygen to survive, and HBOT allows for accelerated healing. HBOT can heal sores that have been resistant to other types of treatment, and it has proven to be the best therapy to counteract damage from radiation therapy. Another notable use for HBOT has been to treat acute hearing loss from COVID-19 and more rarely, as a side effect from the COVID vaccine.

During each two-hour HBOT session, the patient lies on his or her back inside the chamber, where the air pressure – two or three times higher than normal – enables the lungs to absorb more oxygen. The pressure mimics deep-sea diving, and its side effects generally are limited to a patient feeling their ears popping, as they would in a pressurized jet cabin during flight.

After leaving the patient’s lungs, blood carries the extra oxygen throughout the body, where it fights bacteria, nourishes tissues, and stimulates wound healing. Each patient spends 10 to 20 treatment sessions inside the chamber. Holy Name has two chambers, with plans to add a third.

In the past, patients and doctors were skeptical of HBOT. It was unregulated and often applied to unapproved therapies when it was first used. But HBOT has since proven to be life-changing if used appropriately.

Stavros Christoudias, MD, is board-certified in general surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and has been recognized as a "Top Doc" by his peers in Bergen County and NJ. He is also a member of the NJ Board of Medical Examiners. To schedule an appointment at the Holy Name Institute for Wound Healing, call 201-833-3202 or email WoundHealing@HolyName.org.