Gangrene – Treatment and Prevention of Gangrene
Gangrene is a death of tissue due to inadequate or loss of blood supply to the tissue. Blood generally provides good oxygen supply to the tissues and feeds the cells with nutrients. Without the proper supply, cells cannot live. Gangrene commonly appear in extremities such as limbs, fingers and toes and rarely in muscles and internal organs. The treatment and prevention of gangrene are discussed below.
Gangrene is treated to stop it from spreading further. It is very important to restore the blood supply and allow the affected part to heal quickly. The treatments are discussed below.
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy: The patient is placed on a padded table that slides into a special chamber. The chamber is pressurized with oxygen. The high air pressure makes more and more oxygen to get carried to the affected area. Bacteria thus cannot survive in oxygen rich areas. Hence, the chamber helps to fight bacteria and heal the wounds.
- Antibiotics: Doctors may prescribe antibiotics to treat the gangrene. Antibiotics are administered through a vein.
- Surgery: The dead tissue that is developed as a result of inadequate blood supply is removed or repaired surgically. This prevents the gangrene from spreading to other areas.
Skin graft is a method to treat gangrene surgically. Healthy skin is removed from a part of the body that is hidden by clothing. This healthy skin is spread over the affected area. Skin graft is possible only when the blood supply is restored to the affected area.
Amputation is a surgical method done in severe cases of gangrene. In this method, the affected body part, such as limb, finger or toe is removed. In rarer cases, affected parts are fitted with artificial body parts. This is prosthesis.
Prevention of Gangrene
Here are a few tips that help you to reduce the risk of developing gangrene and therefore prevent it.
- If you are in cold weather for a long period, your skin becomes numb, cold and pale. Consult a doctor immediately
- If you have a cut or bruise on the skin, wash the wound with soap and water frequently. Keep it dry always and clean until it heals.
- Do not smoke as smoking damages blood vessels raising the risk.
- If you are diabetic, examine hands and feet regularly for any sores, cuts or infections. Consult a doctor immediately.