Severe wounds can require complex surgical treatment to heal properly. They often involve muscles, bones, nerves, tendons, ligaments and other tissues. Plastic and reconstructive surgeons use a variety of techniques to close severe wounds, improve healing and minimize visible scarring.
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is a regional leader in reconstructive surgery and is staffed by some of the most experienced and skilled plastic and reconstructive surgeons in the Midwest. Our doctors have the training and expertise to perform a variety of the most complex and innovative procedures available in the region.
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Wound Center offers a range of advanced surgical reconstruction procedures to treat wounds and deformities caused by illness, traumatic injuries and congenital deformities. We’re the only center in the area that offers specialized treatment for adults with burn injuries. We utilize the latest surgical techniques in wound healing, and often combine treatment with hyperbaric oxygen therapy to further promote healing.
Microsurgery involves the use of a high-magnification operating microscope to perform intricate reconstructive procedures. Our specialized microsurgeons can repair damaged blood vessels, nerves and other tiny structures, as well as transplant large sections of tissue, muscle or bone from one area of the body to another.
Ohio State’s reconstructive surgeons can place a flap of tissue — skin, connective tissue and sometimes muscle — over the wound to allow it to heal. The flap may either contain its original blood supply or may have detached blood vessels that microsurgeons re-attach to the blood vessels in the wound.
Skin grafts are a primary method of treating severe burns, but they are also used to treat other types of wounds, such as diabetic ulcers and pressure ulcers. To perform the procedure, surgeons cover the wound by grafting skin from another part of your body — usually from an area typically hidden by clothes. The graft is sewn into place and begins growing new blood vessels within a few days. Unlike flap surgery, which involves microsurgery to re-attach blood vessels, a graft relies on the growth of new blood vessels.
Skin substitutes, either temporary or permanent, can be used to close wounds and promote healing. Temporary substitutes can be used to protect the wound from infection, such as before skin grafting, and are usually removed after a few weeks. Permanent skin substitutes are used to replace the full thickness of the skin and improve the quality of the skin at the wound site. Substitutes can be made from live human or animal cells, or made from synthetic materials, such as silicone.
Negative Pressure Wound Therapy
Negative pressure wound therapy involves using a special vacuum dressing to promote wound healing. Our surgeons apply a special foam and drain with a tube before closing the wound. The tube is connected to a vacuum source. The vacuum draws excess fluid from the wound to reduce the risk of infection and increase blood flow to the area.
Growth Factor Therapy
Growth factors are substances in your body that stimulate the growth of cells that promote wound healing. Growth factor therapy uses these substances, such as collagen, keratin and others, to increase the number of wound healing cells and speed up the healing process. Depending on the treatment, growth factors can be applied topically as a gel, as an injection or can be incorporated into wound dressings or skin grafts.