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Diabetic Foot Ulcers – Types of Surgeries



There are a whole variety of procedures that might occur to treat something like a foot ulcer. In the case of an infection, that might be a more urgent kind of procedure that is done to drain the infection – to take out dead tissue. There are also types of procedures that are done to debride nonviable tissue – that’s called wound debridement or cleaning up the wound. That can be done often in a clinic or in the operating room – depending on how extensive the debridement is necessary. There are other things that are done commonly like cutting into the bone and moving the bone so that deformity is not as present, causing the risk for developing an ulcer. So a procedure can be done that is reconstructive in nature that might change the way the foot hits the ground so that you’re spreading force out over a larger area and reducing risk of a prominence causing a sore. The other thing that can be done is after a wound has been debrided and it’s nice and healthy, then one can look from wound care to wound closure. A commonly performed procedure is some method to actually close the wound. A surgeon may choose to work with you to move skin over and that could be a rotational flap. They could take tissue from somewhere else in your body and put it on – rarely. That’s called a flap and there’s various kinds of flaps at various levels of fancy. Other things that can be done pretty commonly are taking skin from one area (like on your thigh) and then putting it onto your foot. That’s called a split thickness skin graft and the skin graft can be taken from your thigh (it’s a little bit like skinning your knee) and then just transferred to the back table in the operating room and the surgeons can manipulate that and spread it out a little bit so that it can have a little more surface area. Then, they can put that down on various parts of your foot to actually patch that area up if you have a big sore. So that’s another thing that can be done as well that’s done fairly commonly at a lot of a high-end limb salvage diabetic foot units.

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