n my dreams, the wound is always healed," says Grace Kostelak, 70, who suffers from a non-healing wound on the lower leg, possibly due to a problem with her veins.
Venous stasis ulcers, such as those experienced by Ms. Kostelak for the last 15 years, are painful, large beefy red wounds, usually on the legs, that fail to heal. The ulcers also pose a serious danger of potential infection.
Ms. Kostelak, who does not have diabetes, suspects a genetic component to her problem, as both her mother and a sister had the same non-healing wounds. She is one of approximately 600,000 people in the United States today who are seeking treatment for this condition.
Now at Winthrop, a new wound treatment - ApligrafTM - is provided in Winthrop's Mini Surgery Suite, without an overnight stay. ApligrafTM, the only living, bi-layered skin construct available today, is applied directly over the clean, debrided wound. Grown from cloned human foreskin cells, harvested from newborn babies, ApligrafTM is particularly effective when combined with compression bandaging.
Alfred Adamo, MD, a Voluntary Attending Surgeon with Winthrop's Department of Surgical Services, was the first surgeon in Nassau County to treat a patient with Apligraf.TM
The patient, Ms. Kostelak, says that her wound had been growing larger, aggravated by an occupational hazard - filing while standing on her feet during most of her business day. Although Dr. Adamo had tried other treatments, her wound had not healed. "Traditional skin grafts sloughed right off. I'd also tried a technique similar to a
soft cast, which was not helpful," he recalls.
The ApligrafTM treatment "took," and within nine weeks, Ms. Kostelak's wound was 80% healed. Its troubling odor had disappeared.
Venous Stasis Ulcers: Costly
"The cost of venous stasis ulcers, in terms of time lost from work, loss of productivity, people out on disability, and people in chronic pain, is incredible," says Dr. Adamo, adding, "Physicians are not certain why these chronic wounds will not heal." Typical reasons are diabetes, poor circulation, vascular problems, and collagen or protein-inhibiting factors. "Failure to heal is a problem that can affect all age groups, not just people over 40. Surgeons treat college age patients, who have suffered trauma, whose wounds fail to heal. Non-healing wounds can also result from insect bites."
"Wound care is very important in America," Dr. Adamo concludes. "It is significant that Winthrop, a Level I Regional Trauma Center, is on the forefront of new wound care therapies. I am glad that the ApligrafTM 'Pathway to Healing' is available to our patients."
For further information on ApligrafTM, call Dr. Alfred Adamo at 516-742-7150.