Diabetic Ulcer Surgery

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A diabetic foot ulcer is an open sore or wound on the foot of a person with diabetes, most commonly located on the plantar surface, or bottom of the foot. Diabetic foot ulcers occur in approximately 15% of persons with diabetes. Of those who develop a foot ulcer, 6% will be hospitalized due to infection or other ulcer-related complication. The risk of foot ulceration and limb amputation increases with age and the duration of diabetes.

Diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower extremity amputations. Between 14-24% percent of patients with diabetes who develop a foot ulcer will require an amputation, and foot ulceration precedes 85% of diabetes-related amputations. The good news is that a foot ulcer is preventable if the underlying conditions causing it, diabetic peripheral neuropathy and/or peripheral arterial disease, are appropriately diagnosed and treated.

Many non-infected foot ulcers are treatable without surgery. However, surgery may be required to:

  • Remove pressure on the affected area, including shaving or excision of bone(s).
  • Correct deformities, such as hammertoes, bunions, or bony “bumps.”
  • Treat infections such as osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone, by surgically removing the infected bone.

Healing time may range from weeks to several months, depending on:

  • Wound size and location
  • Pressure on the wound from walking or standing
  • Degree of swelling
  • Issues with proper circulation
  • Blood glucose levels
  • What treatments are being applied to the wound

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