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Caring for and packing an open wound

22 Feb

Wound Healing Tips:  Photos / Images of wound healing over time

 

You can get an open wound from many different reasons, in the end however, we are all dealing with the issue of how to get it to heal quickly.  Many wounds come from surgery when an incision does not stay close or there is tissue death, necrosis, that must be managed. It can also come from an infection.  My wound came from a seroma of fluid putting pressure on my incision and therefore, causing it to open.

I will give advice in general and in story mode based on what happened to me.  Your wound could be any size.  It will have a length, width, and depth.   It also might tunnel through closed layers of the skin and have a width with in the tunnel.  What matters most is knowing the dimensions so you can measure progress.  My wound was about 2 inches long, 1 inch wide, and 6 inches deep in a tunnel that had a diameter of about an inch.  It was pretty big.   Suggestion: Measure and record your wound size.

Initially, my wound looked terrible, it had black stuff in it (pic 1) and it was unhealthy looking.  It actually needed something called debridement.  This gets rid of unhealthy tissue so new tissue can grow.  The doctor felt around with a long Qtip and packed with wet gauze and saline.  Later, I had to replace the gauze and do this twice per day.  This action does help slowly debride the wound but better and faster methods can be used such as lightly scraping with a scalpel or using Medihoney, which I eventually used and this helped debride the wound very well.

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Wound needs debridement – pic 1

Wet to dry dressings

Wet to dry dressings pic 2

 

I have a video link on YouTube that shows me doing the wet to dry packing of the wound.  Remember that this is a deep hole, so it is like a magic trick of disappearing scarves. The link is at http://youtu.be/Q354L0Vvd5c

When doing these wet to dry dressings, I would have to cover the wound up with something (the dry part of wet to dry dressings) to catch all the fluid.  It was a mix of exudate and serous fluid.  In the beginning, there was a lot of it.  I would cover it with a maxi pad or even two at night and stick them to the side of my underwear to hold them in place.

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First two weeks not doing much, pic 3

For the first two weeks, the wound only got bigger.  It was looking healthier but it did not get smaller at all.  You see in pic 3 that it didn’t do much but by pic 4, the skin is pinker and healthier but the size looks a little bigger.

Once we saw the healthy smooth, red granulation tissue, we knew that healing could start taking place.  I would intermittently use regular saline gauze and the gauze with the Medihoney on it as you saw me do in the video.  I also purchased Medihoney  rope so I could completely pack it with Medhoney.  It was about $60 for the rope,and about $16 for each tube of the paste.  I bought on Amazon.  They sell all kinds of Medihoney products.  The gel and paste are similar but the gel is thicker, I found the paste worked best for putting on a gauze before packing.  The rope is long sheets of honey on a gauze-like alginate that you pack directly with and the honey melts into the wound and then you pull out the gel piece after a day or two.  Read all the benefits of Medihoney and you will be impressed.  It speeds healing, decreases pains, gets rid of infection, and helps keep you from getting an infection.  After 2 weeks of wet dry packing and Medihoney, I started feeling the wound tighten on the inside.

Showings signs of getting smaller

Showings signs of getting smaller – pic 4

Starting to see granulation tissue , healthy tissue, pic 4  In the next photo, you can see how the wound is getting narrower and tissue is filling in on the sides.  That part of the wound eventually closes off first.  At the same time, healing inside the tunnel is taking place.  After 2 weeks, the tunnel goes from 6 inches deep to about 4 inches deep. Also the tunnel is getting tighter inside.   In picture 6, the actual size the exterior hole is smaller.  some of the right side has closed in a bit and the more is filling in.  Additionally, in another 2 weeks, the inside went from 4 inches to 4 cm (sorry, I switched measuring tools as I started measuring with a Qtip and it had cm on it).  That was quite a bit.  At one time, however, the inside closed in on itself in the middle, leaving me with space below and above so I couldn’t get to space below.  I was worried but I used more Medihoney rope to debride it again and it allowed the middle to open up enough again that I could get back to the bottom of the hole.  The hole continue to close that right side down until I just had the very deep part left.  Inside was still measuring 3 cm but I could not fit the Qtip (big size, not little one) into the hole anymore to pack so my doctor said I could stop and see what happens.  So right now I have a very small hole that I am waiting to close.  I am sure the inside is still doing stuff also.

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pic 5 – sides are filling in

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Hole closing in more, inside is also getting shorter and narrower pic 6

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pic 7 – exterior hole got so small, I couldn’t get inside to pack anymore. Last time I packed, inside was 3 cm deep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To get an idea of my other smaller wound that wasn’t deep and what stages it went through (closed in 4 weeks – not totally but was scarring over and I could just leave it alone), I will post it’s healing history with photos’ below.  I also used Medihoney on it.

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Small wound pic 1

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small wound pic 2

small wound pic 3

small wound pic 3

I hope these photos give you an idea of the healing stages.  It was very stressful dealing with wound care.  It would take me an hour twice a day to deal with the wounds I had.  I did a lot of research on wound care but I am not a nurse or a doctor so please talk with your practitioner.  I did get help from the Medihoney, especially using it when I felt pain or felt things were stalling.  I found that I could go a while with no change to the wound and then have a big change in a couple days, it wasn’t like it was a small gradual healing all the time, knowing that would have been helpful.  Products I used that were helpful were:

 

  • Medihoney (paste, rope, and sheet alginate)
  • Hydrocolloids (gel type bandaids that cover the wound and keep it moist, couldn’t use on wounds with LOTS of drainage though)
  • Nonstick pads
  • Paper tape and then a more sticky tape over the top
  • Mepitac tape also to help if you have any issues with sensitive skin and tape.  I would put Mepitac first on the skin as a protective layer and tape over the mepitac.
  • Vitamin C, Zinc, and lots of protein (protein shakes) – all help wounds heal faster

 

 

 
 

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