A cut, sore or callous might not be a big deal for the average person. But for a diabetic, the injury is serious. That’s because diabetics are at risk for hard-to-heal wounds.

Body at risk

“High blood sugars impair the cells and the actual healing process,” says Dr. Rebecca Jankowski, medical director at Lake Pointe Wound Care Center in Rowlett, Tex, noting diabetics have decreased sensation, called neuropathy, and “might not even know that they have a wound until it has become severe.”

Standard wound treatment includes antibiotics, dressings and offloading shoes or boots to reduce pressure on foot and leg wounds. Patients typically go to their foot doctor weekly for checkups.

“Wounds are harder to heal and patients are at a higher risk of infection,” says board-certified general surgeon Bardia Anvar, M.D., medical director of Skilled Wound Care in Los Angeles. “A small wound can quickly become a big problem.”

“'The newest generation of placental grafts show a 191 percent improvement compared to regular standard wound care...'"

Avoiding amputations

“Our mission is get patients healed as fast as we can, as expeditiously and efficiently so that we do reduce the risk of complications such as infection, hospitalization and amputation,” says Dr. Dan Davis, certified wound specialist at St. Vincent Wound Care Center in Trumbull, Conn.

Statistics show once a patient has one body part amputated, he has a 20 percent chance of having another amputation within the first year and a 50 percent chance of a second amputation within three years.

Newer treatments

Modern treatments include: hyperbaric oxygen therapy; adding collagen to wounds; and using skin grafts from foreskin and live placental tissue to speed up wound recovery.

“The newest generation of placental grafts show a 191 percent improvement compared to regular standard wound care,” says Dr. Davis, explaining wounds typically heal at least six weeks faster now. “Our job is to preserve the wound, preserve the foot, the leg and preserve their life.”