Diabetes & Plastic Surgery
A condition like diabetes makes medical care more complicated, as it is associated with complications in a variety of other body systems, and can result in conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, and stroke. This complexity has to be taken into consideration for any medical procedure, especially surgery. Plastic surgery is no exception.
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Plastic Surgeon discusses diabetes and plastic surgery.
Diabetes & Plastic Surgery
Diabetes can lead to various complications, and two of them are increased susceptibility to infections and poor peripheral perfusion.
Susceptibility to infections: High blood sugar levels in diabetes can weaken the immune system, making individuals more vulnerable to infections. Moreover, diabetes can cause nerve damage and impair blood circulation, which can further hinder the body's ability to fight off infections. Common infections in diabetic patients include urinary tract infections, skin infections, gum disease, and yeast infections.
Poor peripheral perfusion: Diabetes can lead to peripheral arterial disease (PAD) or peripheral vascular disease (PVD), which is characterized by narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply the extremities, such as the fingers and toes. Reduced blood flow to these areas, known as poor peripheral perfusion, can cause various problems. The extremities may receive inadequate oxygen and nutrients, leading to slow wound healing, increased risk of ulcers, and difficulty in fighting off infections. In severe cases, it can even lead to tissue damage and the formation of ulcers or gangrene.
It is crucial for individuals with diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and regularly monitor their feet and extremities for any signs of infection or poor circulation. Proper foot care, including regular check-ups, cleaning, and wearing appropriate footwear, can help prevent complications and detect issues at an early stage. Seeking medical attention promptly for any signs of infection or impaired blood flow is essential to prevent further complications.
Plastic surgeons are medical professionals who specialize in the surgical management of various conditions, including those related to wound care and infections. While plastic surgeons are commonly associated with cosmetic procedures, they also play a crucial role in the treatment of wounds and infections.
In the scenario you described, if patients develop infections in their fingers or pressure sores due to poor circulation in their ankles, seeking a consultation with a plastic surgeon would be appropriate. Plastic surgeons have expertise in wound management and can provide recommendations for proper wound care. They may suggest techniques such as debridement, which involves removing dead or infected tissue from the wound to promote healing. Enclosure techniques, such as using specialized dressings or bandages, may also be employed to facilitate faster healing and reduce the risk of ongoing infection.
Plastic surgeons possess a wide range of skills and knowledge in managing both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures, making them well-equipped to handle complex cases involving wounds, infections, and associated concerns.
In diabetic patients, when the blood sugar is high it creates an environment where they are susceptible to bacterial infections because the bacteria like the sugar in the blood. Therefore, they are more prone to allowing for the bacteria to grow. This is complicated by the fact that their blood circulation to their extremities is poor so the bacteria have the opportunity to thrive in an area of poor blood flow and high blood sugar. Often seeing a Endocrinologist or local family physician in conjunction with a registered dietitian and athletic therapist is a great option to take control of this condition. Smart Food Now and exercise is also optominal for overall health
So in order to best manage them it is usually a multi-disciplinary approach. We need the Endocrinologist to manage the blood sugar, and they may need a surgeon to help to debri the wound, suggest a mechanism of wound enclosure. It is very important if there is tissue that is not healthy that it be removed and that it be treated quickly and effectively to prevent spread of the infection and possibly loss of digits because the condition has been allowed to progress for an extended period of time.
Therefore, if any diabetic patient develops an open wound then they should be referred sooner rather than later to a plastic surgeon to have the wounds assessed and recommendations made for management.