Decubitus ulcers – also known as either pressure ulcers or bed sores – create around $11 billion yearly in care costs. Defined as open wounds on the skin, particularly covering bony areas, these ulcers could cost a hospital between $500 to $70,000, depending on the extent of the damage. Most pressure ulcers affect elderly or disabled people, and can be extremely painful if not treated promptly.
The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Center has developed a staging process to help medical professionals diagnose and treat patients with decubitus ulcers, ranging from Stage One (skin is red and sore, but unbroken) to Stage Four (layers of muscle and bone are affected). Beyond this, the wound is deemed Unstageable. Damage in this case is usually so extensive that the tissue may even need to be removed.
The cause of pressure ulcers varies widely. We most often think of these wounds occurring due to immobility – whether that be in a hospital bed or a wheelchair – but they can also be caused by poor nutrition or diabetes, which decreases proper blood circulation. Whatever the cause of pressure ulcers, the treatments for them can be just as diverse.
Depending on the stage of the patient’s ulcer, treatment could be as simple as reduced pressure on the affected area, or prescribed antibacterial drugs. However, if the tissue around the wound has been damaged enough, it will most likely need to be removed, and the ulcer kept as clean and sanitary as possible.
If a pressure ulcer requires a more aggressive approach to treatment, many healthcare professionals will resort to surgical procedures. But a secondary option, depending on the situation, could be laser treatment. One of the strongest advantages to this system is the fact that no physical contact with the treatment site is made during the procedure. This helps maximize hygiene and avoid the spread of bacteria, both of which aid in the recovery process.
The Aerolase Neo, specifically, may be the perfect machine to treat certain cases of decubitus ulcers, due of its infrared 1064nm laser energy that stimulates the formation of new collagen, accelerating the full closure of wounds that have stalled in healing. It also delivers a gentle treatment to avoid adding further agitation and discomfort to an already painful ailment.
If your practice is interested in offering this innovative procedure to patients who suffer from painful pressure ulcers, contact us today to receive more information and a demonstration.