Medical Director Explains the Importance of Chronic Wound Care

Dr. Jamison Alexander, Medical Director of the TMC Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine, explains chronic wounds and the importance of having them treated.June 2, 2022

The average wound can be treated through conventional methods: keep the wound clean with an appropriate cleanser, dress the wound, change the dressing regularly and allow the normal healing process to occur. For wounds that persist or progress, known as chronic wounds, a higher level of care is required.

The TMC Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine provides specialized treatment for chronic or non-healing wounds. Jamison Alexander, DO, CWS-P, FACCWS, director of the center for more than three years, explains the most common chronic wounds, what causes them and how they are treated.

Common Chronic Wounds and Their Causes

“We treat complex, complicated wounds found anywhere on the body. Typical chronic wounds include diabetic foot ulcers, venous ulcers, arterial ulcers, lacerations, abrasions and traumatic wounds,” Dr. Alexander says. “There are many factors that can delay healing, such as peripheral arterial disease, diabetes, radiation treatment and infection.

“Chronic wounds are often caused by mismanagement of home remedies. A lot of patients treat the wound with a toxic substance like hydrogen peroxide or apply an ointment they are allergic to,” he explains. “Additionally, conditions like diabetes or prior radiation treatment for cancer can reduce vascular supply or cause fibrosis to the wounded area, inhibiting healing.”

Reasons to Seek Care

According to Dr. Alexander, the best way to prevent a chronic wound is to seek immediate care at an established wound care clinic. “Once it’s noticed, you want to prevent ongoing injury to the wound,” he says. “Sometimes it can be a simple matter of determining and eliminating the cause of the ulcer or wound, such as improper footwear.”

Another important reason to seek care for chronic wounds is their significant impact on quality of life. “There is a staggering amount of drainage and odor and a lot of care involved in changing dressings," he explains. "Selecting the appropriate dressing to decrease drainage and odor can make a dramatic improvement in both healing and well-being.”

Keys to Treatment

The first course of action when a patient comes to the center is to determine if they are putting something on the wound that prohibits healing or worsens the wound. “It’s very common that the patient is doing something to damage the wound itself without realizing it. The first thing we do is discover and stop that,” says Dr. Alexander.

A major component of chronic wound care is debridement, the removal of dead material and bacteria from the wound to restore it to healthy, bleeding tissue. The next step is determining the right dressing for the wound. “Choosing appropriate dressing is essential to control drainage, reduce infection risk and promote healing,” he says.

Other treatment modalities utilized at the center include offloading footwear, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, bioengineered skin substitutes, vacuum-assisted wound closure and total contact casting. The center coordinates care with infectious disease specialists, surgeons, dermatologists, oncologists and vascular interventionalists when additional care is needed.

Why Choose TMC?

Having served as medical director of the center for more than three years, Dr. Alexander can attest to its excellence at treating chronic wounds. “Most new patients find relief when they learn we are staffed with providers and nurses who are dedicated solely to treating complicated wounds of all types,” he says.

“Furthermore, we’ve been consistently awarded in comparison to other wound care clinics across the nation. This includes being named the 2019 Company Wound Care Center of the Year by Healogics™ and ‘Best Wound Care’ numerous times in the Herald Democrat's annual Best of Texoma Readers Survey.”