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November 6, 2003

Complications

Question from Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA:

A family member, who has type 2 diabetes and was in the hospital for a long stay, developed a bedsore on the buttocks, and we are looking for additional suggestions to help the healing. It is three inches in depth and really wide. It was deeper, and it has taken about two months for the depth to go down an inch. There are other complications such as blood clots and circulation problems. He can't sit for any length of time, is sleeping on a special mattress, and has a special cushion on the wheelchair. I have been trying to read research and saw that there is a gel for foot ulcers being looked at that helps healing. Would this be something that can be used in this situation? Any other suggestions? We are getting discouraged.

Answer:

Unfortunately, there is little you can do with large ulcers except to keep them from getting infected, preventing further pressure, and allowing time to heal in the area. There are several products on the market that induce healing as they contain growth factors that are known to promote healing. However, these products cannot be used outside the prescription of a physician.

The model for good wound care begins with a physician and a team of professionals who have a lot of experience doing wound care. It is not wise to leave it up to families who do not have experience doing this. If you are discouraged, I would recommend finding a physician with expertise in wound healing who can help you. In addition to good wound care, nutrition and blood sugar control are also very important.

JTL