If you have untreated vascular disease, you could develop leg ulcers. These open sores often develop just above your ankle, on the inside of your leg. But, what causes them to develop? When your veins aren’t functioning well—as is the case if you’ve got varicose veins —the pressure inside those veins can build up rapidly. And, if that pressure isn’t relieved, it can damage your skin, leaving you with open sores. Plus, once those sores develop, they are slower to heal. Why? The answer lies in your circulation problems.
Without getting enough oxygen-rich blood, the skin on your legs can’t regenerate as well as it should. And this can make it harder for wounds to heal. Which is why, as Houston vein specialists, we’re very excited about a newly developed wound treatment. And a new bandage that can detect wound healing. Want to hear the coolest part? The former is developed from blood! And the latter does its work wirelessly!
Using Blood to Speed Up Wound Healing
According to a study in Advances in Skin and Wound Care, researchers at the University of Manchester have developed a gel, made from blood, that’s speeding up healing times for ulcers. Typically, these ulcers take at least three months to heal but, studies show that for at least 14% of patients, wounds are still a problem one whole year later. And, for others, the wounds just don’t heal, making it necessary to amputate.
For all these reasons, a new, faster wound treatment is a very big deal. So, how does the new gel work? Doctors take a little more than a teaspoon of your own blood and spin it around in a piece of equipment called a centrifuge.
While your blood spins, your plasma gets separated from the other parts of your blood. Plasma is rich in platelets, and platelet are full of ‘growth factors’ that boost your body’s healing. Once your plasma has been isolated, it gets mixed with a few other compounds, and, in about 30 seconds, it takes on a gel form. Your doctor puts that gel on your wound right away, and then covers the area with a bandage to help your wound heal faster.
But, you may be wondering, just how effective is the gel? Forty-eight percent of patients treated with gel had full wound healing, compared to 30% of patients treated with other methods. And, even more exciting news: the healing time was cut in half! Wounds had shrunk by 50% in 21 days for patients using the gel. Patients not using the gel had to wait 42 days to get that same result.
While the gel is still being studied, the results are certainly exciting. We can’t wait to learn more about this therapy, which harnesses your own body’s potential to self-heal!
Detecting Wound Healing with a Wireless Bandage
Scientists at the National University of Singapore just developed a wearable sensor that wirelessly assesses your wound through an app. It can test the temperature, pH, bacteria type and inflammation levels in your ulcer. And it can do so in just 15 minutes, meaning you get fast accurate results. Without disturbing the wound dressing! Or, in many cases, without forcing you to make the long trip into your doctor’s office.
Changing the Game
Wireless wound assessment reflects a major treatment turning point. Right now, we have to visually inspect ulcers, often collecting fluid from your wounds to help decide the most effective treatment options. The process takes a few days. And it means we need to dress and undress your open sore, which can slow the healing process since it disturbs the sensitive tissue.
But with VeCare, this new bandage, we’d dress your ulcer with one layer that touches your wound. Then, a breathable barrier covers that layer, with an electronic chip, a fluid collector and a flexible immunosensor forming the top layer. The combination allows us to quickly track your wound’s healing and drive treatment choices. All without leaving you open to infection.
Currently, this bandage isn’t available for mass distribution. But the research team is working on rolling their bandage out to the public. And our team of Houston vein specialists will keep you posted when it becomes available.
Leg Ulcers care in Houston, TX
For now, know that our team of vein specialists offers the latest in personalized wound care. Even better, we offer preventative vein treatments, so you never develop leg ulcers in the first place. Ready to take control of your vein health? Schedule a consultation at one of our vein centers today, with locations in Houston, Katy, Clear Lake, Sugar Land and the Woodlands!