How Skin Grafts Improve Healing Outcomes in Diabetic Foot Wounds 

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How Skin Grafts Improve Healing Outcomes in Diabetic Foot Wounds 

For the more than 37 million people in the United States who have diabetes (that’s about 1 in 10 Americans), diabetic foot wounds are one of the more clear and present complications of this chronic condition. In fact, up to a quarter of people with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer at some point in their lives and, of this number, between 14% and 24% will need an amputation.

Our goal here isn’t to scare you unnecessarily, but we do want to underscore the dangers of diabetic foot ulcers and how quickly they can turn into a limb-threatening condition.

Luckily, there are solutions that lie between foot ulcers and amputation, which we offer here at Foot Ankle Leg Wound Care Orange County. Under the direction of double board-certified surgeon and wound expert Dr. Thomas Rambacher, one of the missions at our practice is to find ways to help our patients heal from diabetic foot wounds, and skin grafting can often play an invaluable role in this effort.

In the following, we take a look at how skin grafting can improve healing outcomes in the field of diabetic wound care.

Why diabetic foot wounds are so dangerous

We're sure that much of what we’re about to say is information you already know, but we’re going to briefly review what we’re up against when it comes to diabetes and foot wounds.

When you have diabetes, high glucose levels in your blood wreak havoc on your peripheral nerves and blood vessels, and as a result, even a minor wound in your foot has trouble healing because of a lack of resources. This is because your feet are located far from your heart, so when your vascular and nervous systems are compromised, this distance is problematic as your body struggles to send resources to the area that will fight infection and heal the wound.

As a result, a minor wound can quickly turn into a deepening and widening ulcer that can’t close up thanks to rampant infection.

Closing up the wound with skin grafting

The main hurdle that you face with a diabetic foot ulcer is getting the wound to close, effectively blocking more bacteria from entering. Not only does closing the wound off prevent assault from the outside, it also creates an environment inside that favors healing by maintaining body temperature and regulating moisture. 

If your body is unable to get this done on its own, we can step in with a skin graft. Dr. Rambacher has considerable experience and skill with skin grafting, so you’re in good hands.

After an extensive evaluation, Dr. Rambacher chooses the best route for your skin graft — one from your own body or a bioengineered graft. We assure you that the bioengineered grafts work very well and integrate themselves well with human skin. In fact, bioengineered skin grafts are often infused with regenerative resources that give your wound a much-needed healing boost.

After cleaning out dead and diseased tissues from your diabetic foot wound, a process known as debriding, Dr. Rambacher applies and attaches the skin graft to the area.

Once in place, it’s a matter of allowing time for the graft to integrate with surrounding tissues, promoting blood flow from the muscles to your skin, and enabling more healing. Of course, we provide you with complete care instructions and we’re with you every step of the way, closely monitoring how your body responds to the skin graft.

If you’d like to learn more about skin grafting and whether you’re a good candidate for this approach to diabetic wound healing, we invite you to call our office in Mission Viejo, California, at 949-832-6018 or request an appointment online today.