Treatment of Wound Infection

Chronic wounds are especially prone to infection, which in turn prevents the wound from healing. For this reason, eliminating any underlying infection is an essential part of the wound treatment process in patients with difficult-to-heal wounds. At the Winthrop Wound Healing Center, we focus intensively on identifying any infection that may be present in our patients’ wounds and treating it aggressively. Surgical debridement of the wound is an important part of this process, since it enables us to physically remove all or most of the infected tissue from the wound site. After the nonviable tissue has been debrided from the wound, we then obtain deep-tissue samples from the wound site, which are analyzed for infection and other properties. If osteomyelitis (bone infection) is suspected, samples of bone tissue are analyzed as well, and we may do a scan of the affected area.

If bacterial infection is found to persist following debridement, the patient is given antibiotic therapy tailored to the specific strain of bacteria that has been identified, including intravenous antibiotics and/or oral antibiotics as needed. In cases of advanced infection, we may start the patient immediately on a broad-spectrum antibiotic even before the specific bacteria has been identified, then shift to a more targeted antibiotic following tissue analysis. If the infection persists despite antibiotic therapy, we may perform additional debridement procedures on the wound to remove additional infected tissue until the infection has been eliminated.

Chronic wounds may also develop fungal infections in the area around the wound. In these cases, the infection is typically treated with topical antifungal medications and, if needed, oral antifungal medications as well.

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