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Advanced wound care gets Gorski back on his feet

Patient Name: Arnold Gorski

About three years ago, Arnold Gorski woke up with a little soreness in his foot. The pain lingered for a few days until Gorski noticed a sore the size of a dime had developed on the side of his foot near his heal.

Unsure of what may have caused the sore, Gorski figured it would go away on its own, but it never did – for three years. Not only did the sore fail to heal, it got bigger despite constant treatments at various wound clinics, eventually growing to the size of the palm of his hand.

“Some days would be better than others, but there were days when it throbbed and I couldn’t walk or even sleep,” said the now 78-year-old Mosinee resident.

During weekly appointments at a wound clinic, doctors performed a procedure called sharp debridement, where they removed any unhealthy tissue from Gorski’s wound with a scalpel or scissors. Unhealthy tissue, like scabs, prevent healthy tissue from growing and can prevent healing in larger wounds, so the unhealthy tissue is removed and the open wound is covered in bandages to promote better healing.

Gorski underwent these weekly outpatient procedures at three different wound clinics for nearly three years without any success. He kept trying new clinics with the hope that one of them would have something new to try, but everywhere he went, doctors would use the sharp debridement method and pain medication, but to no avail.

“Sometimes the sore would seem to get a little better and scab over, but when I’d go to an appointment they’d cut the scab off and I would be right back to where I started,” Gorski said. “When they removed the scab it would bleed a lot and it hurt. It got to the point where I asked a doctor if he knew a good surgeon who could just cut off my foot.”

The Answer He’d Been Looking For

Three years and three clinics later, Gorski met with a plastic surgeon desperate for a solution. The surgeon informed Gorski that he wasn’t a candidate for plastic surgery, but he did refer him to the Aspirus Wound & Hyperbaric Center, thinking he may benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

At Aspirus, Gorski was told that hyperbaric therapy wasn’t appropriate for his situation, but there was a new debridement treatment that could help. Willing to try anything, Gorski began twice-weekly debridement treatments at Aspirus that utilized a piece of state-of-the-art equipment usually found only in the biggest wound centers called the Arobella Acoustic Wound Therapy System.

The Arobella system is a combination of ultrasound and a sharp-edged surgical instrument called a curette. The ultrasound technology produces sound vibrations that aid the curette in breaking up unhealthy tissue from a wound, while a saline solution spray is used to wash that tissue away. After treatments, wounds are compression-wrapped to prevent infection.

“The Arobella system can be used on any wound that needs debridement, and nearly all wound patients will need that type of treatment at some point,” said Kathy Thurs, a nurse practitioner at the Aspirus Wound & Hyperbaric Center. “Most patients feel less pain with Arobella than other debridement methods.”

For Gorski, the Arobella system helped heal his wound within 10 weeks. Each treatment lasted about 5 to 10 minutes, and he said there was minimal bleeding and the pain was considerably less than he experienced during his countless other treatments over the past three years. Now he says his foot gets a little tender if he does a lot of walking, but the wound is completely gone.

“The treatment itself felt like a lukewarm spray, kind of like when you go to the dentist and they rinse your mouth,” he said. “There was noticeable improvement from week to week and it did the trick.”

Any patient with an open wound may benefit from the services offered at the Aspirus Wound & Hyperbaric Center. Patients may self-refer, or contact your personal provider for a referral. To schedule an appointment call 715.847.2837 or toll free at 800.283.2881.

Created: Sep 27, 2011

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