What Is Wound Care?
Wound care is the subspecialty that provides expertise in the management of acute and chronic wounds. Specialists in wound care focus on evaluating and managing wounds using appropriate interventions and control of co-morbid conditions. These specialists use both surgical and medical skills to the manage wounds.
The etiology of these wounds include pressure, arterial, venous, lymphatic, diabetic, traumatic, burns, autoimmune and several other causes.
It is estimated that over 6 million people in the United States are afflicted with a chronic wound. As the population ages and the incidence of diabetes increases the demand for physicians skilled in wound care continues to rise. Wound care specialists are trained in managing complex wounds and in leading multidisciplinary teams to deliver comprehensive care. A successful wound care physician is as adept with a scalpel as she is in understanding the mechanisms of a medication that inhibits wound healing.
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There are several paths to becoming an expert in wound care and physicians can become a specialist in this area after two years of residency training. Wound care is not yet a recognized board specialty and there are just a handful of fellowships in existence. Many physicians from the backgrounds of general surgery, vascular surgery, internal medicine, plastic surgery, emergency medicine, and family practice become specialized in wound care. Neither the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) yet recognize wound care as a specialty or subspecialty.
This offers an opportunity for those who have not graduated from residency to serve as experts in a needed area of medicine and one day become part of a new board-certified specialty.
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