Patient Information Resources

Orthopedic Services
Glendale Adventist Medical Center
1509 Wilson Terrace
Glendale, CA 91206
Ph: (818) 409-8000

Pain Management

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My husband is a diabetic and wouldn't you know it, he broke his leg in a car accident. It's a pretty substantial break with a lot of damage to the tissues in his calf. He may need a skin graft. Right now he's having these lavage treatments. He's had six of those treatments so far. If I could just get him home, I know he would heal right up. What can I say to the doctor to stop this treatment and send us home?

Open wounds from severe fractures are a source of infection that must be watched carefully. Deep infection can cause death of the tissue. Patients with diabetes are at increased risk for infection and poor wound healing, so all the more reason why they must be monitored closely. Some surgeons do close up fracture wounds right away and rely on intravenous antibiotics to prevent infection. Others clean the wound and leave the skin open (but covered with bandages) until the area tests clear of bacteria. When the test shows too many bacteria are still present, then the area is irrigated (washed) and debrided (cleansed) again. Modern irrigation techniques available today include pulsed lavage. This is an electronic device that delivers saline under direct pressure to the area. It is powerful enough to get the job done but gentle enough to protect the delicate tissue. It sounds like your husband is getting top-of-the-line care. Leaving the hospital when there is an increased risk of infection is not advised. The reality with patients who have diabetes is that their risk of infection leading to amputation is much greater than for individuals who do not have diabetes.


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