Chronic Wounds Can Heal with the New Fish Skin Treatment
New fish skin matrix: promising study results and clinical experience
Some wounds are considered chronic from the very beginning because often an initial treatment of the underlying diseases is required. This refers to diabetic foot syndrome, wounds in peripheral arterial disease or advanced chronic venous insufficiency. Nevertheless, even an acute wound after surgery or an accident can develop into a chronic wound with an often creeping and lengthy course.
"We all know the principle of wound healing. Only those wounds that can be closed are eventually able to heal", says Professor Diethelm Tschöpe. Unfortunately, there are wounds in which the healing process is so disturbed that they do not close for weeks and months. Eighty-one years old Manfred Voigt had such a problem with an injury that occurred on his foot between his toes. At first, it was only bothersome. However, the longer it took, the more this open wound affected his quality of life. "Every two days the bandage had to be changed, for months there was no improvement", says Manfred.
Diabetes is a common cause of impaired wound healing. Due to sensory disorders (such as polyneuropathy), wounds are sometimes noticed by patients too late and often become infected. "The longer the healing process is delayed, the bigger the problem becomes," so explain the typical course of wound healing senior physicians Dr. Tania-Cristina Costea and Dr. Katharina Kuczewski.
The wound healing center of the Diabetes Center at the HDZ NRW, Bad Oeynhausen, is investigating, among other things, the biochemical changes that have chronic wounds and that interfere with a healing cell activity in the connective tissue. In diabetic foot syndrome, these biochemical changes can lead to the amputation of individual toes, the forefoot or the joint. "Although the number of large amputations is decreasing, the number of minor amputations has increased," says Dr. Tschöpe, head of the Diabetes Center. The more time passes, the greater is the risk of infection that brings to amputation.
Anyone who suffers an open wound for more than three months should visit an expert for proper evaluation. Those facilities that are certified as an outpatient or inpatient wound healing center will help. Manfred Voigt did so only after a year since the moment his issue occurred. He was very happy to know that just in four weeks a solution of his problem was found.
Effects visible after seven days
A new treatment method with a graft that is derived from fish skin and obviously stimulates skin cells to grow again helped Mr. Voigt. The cell-free collagen matrix looks a bit like a crispbread, it is placed overlapping on the cleaned wound and fixed with a bandage.
Both initial research and experience in clinical practice suggest that this type of cell migration and proliferation may be superior to other forms of therapy. The Scandinavian product comes from the native Atlantic cod. The material is similar to the human skin with pores and antibacterial properties. These features, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, seem to promote stem cell proliferation and wound healing.
"Further study results have to be awaited," emphasizes Professor Tschöpe, who has previously recorded successful wound closure in all of the patients treated at the Diabetes Center, but does not disregard the fact that an individual assessment of the wound is the core of every treatment.
Which type of treatment is most appropriate depends not only on the kind and depth of the wound or on the possible underlying disease of the patient, but also on the location of the injury. "For instance, it is much more difficult to set up a tissue bridge at the Achilles tendon compared to the ball of the foot because there is virtually no connective tissue", says Dr. Tschöpe
The ultimate goals of modern wound healing methods are wound closure and limb preservation. There are great advantages in the repeated applications of these fish skin matrices. In addition to it, a combination of different methods is possible depending on the individual wound situation. "First effects of wound healing are usually seen after seven days, when the edges of the wound begin to close", concludes Dr. Tschöpe.
In many cases, a prolonged rest and a properly applied vacuum bandage help to stimulate the blood circulation and relieve the wound. Dead tissue can be cleared with a maggot therapy, whereas live tissues growth can be stimulated with stem cells. In venous wounds, cold plasma treatment has been shown to be effective. For Manfred Voigt, the tedious story with his foot has finally come to a happy end after one year of treatment. "Next time I'll definitely go straight to the specialist!".
Are you interested in learning more about the treatment methods discussed in this article? Contact us today to speak with a Medscout Healthcare Consultant. Medscout team will support you throughout the entire treatment course.