Wound Healing Center

Saint Francis Hospital
(Located in the Professional Building)
800 Austin Street
West Tower, Suite 604
Evanston, Illinois 60202
847-316-HEAL (847-316-4325)

Hours: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

There's no longer any reason to live with an open sore

In the United States, chronic wounds affect 6.5 million patients. At Saint Francis Hospital's Wound Healing Center, we treat these wounds and work to prevent reoccurrence by correcting contributing factors like controlling infection and enhancing medical and nutritional status.

A multidisciplinary approach

The Wound Healing Center is staffed with a unique team of specialists all dedicated to healing chronic wounds. The combined knowledge of our team members creates a multidisciplinary approach to healing wounds. We are dedicated to healing wounds that have not responded to traditional treatment.

Request an appointment at the Wound Healing Center

Wound Types and Risk Factors

Wound types

Healing wounds is a complex task. Each case is unique and patients will heal at varying rates. The Wound Healing Center staff is prepared to handle a variety of different wounds which includes:

  • Any wound failing to improve with multiple treatments or therapies
  • Diabetic foot ulcers
  • Lower leg ulcers caused by poor circulation, swelling, or any other reason
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Wounds with underlying bone infection (osteomyelitis)
  • Gangrene
  • Skin tears or lacerations
  • Late effects of radiation therapy
  • Wounds with post-operative infections
  • Slow or non-healing surgical wounds
  • Compromised skin flaps or grafts
  • Burns
  • Wounds of any kind that are present for longer than 2-4 weeks that are not making good progress towards healing

We work with your physician

You may decide to come to the Wound Healing Center on your own or your physician may refer you. As our patient, you will receive a careful evaluation and an individually designed outpatient treatment program for your wound. Your treatment plan is clearly communicated with your physician, and your progress is reported regularly. Once your wound treatment is complete, you will return to your physician for follow-up visits.

State of the Art Treatment

At the Wound Healing Center, you'll receive the right treatment to heal your wound. Some of the following outpatient treatments may be included in your treatment plan:

  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO) - HBO therapy is an intermittent treatment of 100% oxygen at an increased atmospheric pressure, roughly equivalent to what a SCUBA diver would experience at around 30 feet below the water's surface. Patients receive treatment while they relax in a transparent, cylindrical chamber. This therapy improves the body's ability to kill germs and promote healing. It is typically used to treat such problems as diabetic ulcers, circulatory disorders, compromised skin grafts, cyanide or carbon monoxide poisoning, and bone infections. Patients usually "dive" every day for about two hours, over the course of eight to 10 weeks.
  • Wound Dressings - Specific wound care products will be chosen for you wound depending on your needs. Proper dressing can go a long way to promote healing.
  • Wound Debridement - This minor procedure enhances the growth of healthy tissues in the wound, creating an environment that leads to healing.
  • Wound VAC (vacuum assisted closure) Therapy - This therapy promotes wound healing through Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT). By delivering negative pressure (a vacuum) at the wound site through a patented dressing, this helps draw wound edges together, remove infectious materials and actively promote granulation at the cellular level.
  • Bio-engineered tissue substitutes
  • Platelet growth technologies

We use the latest monitoring techniques:

  • Transcutaneous Oxygen Monitoring - This test records the level of oxygen available to your wound. The more oxygen your wound gets, the quicker the healing can occur.
  • Doppler Evaluation Pulses - This technique measures the blood flow available to bring nutrients and medications to the wound. Adequate blood flow is essential to enabling quicker healing.

Your role in healing

Much of the success of your treatment depends on you. We count on you to follow directions carefully and watch your progress closely. You'll learn to care for your wound at home and how to protect yourself from further injuries. The staff at the Wound Healing Center is available to answer questions and give you the support you need.

Meet Our Specialists

All of the physicians at the Wound Healing Center have received advanced training and updates using the latest evidence-based protocols in wound healing therapies at the Ohio State University.

Sunitha Nair, M.D.
Medical Director

  • Specializes in Internal Medicine
  • Board Certified in Internal Medicine
  • Special Procedures include Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
  • Speaks Hindi and Malayalam, in addition to English

Chris O. Costas, M.D.

  • Specializes in Infectious Disease
  • Board Certified in Infectious Disease, Pediatrics and Internal Medicine
  • Completed fellowship at University of Chicago Hospitals Pritzker School of Medicine
  • Speaks Greek, in addition to English

Tessa R. Fischer, M.D.

  • Specializes in Family Medicine
  • Board Certified in Family Medicine
  • Speaks Spanish, in addition to English

Steven B. Miller, D.P.M.

Anshu A. Raj, M.D.

  • Specializes in Internal Medicine
  • Board Certified in Internal Medicine
  • Clinical Interests: Older Adult Care, Diabetes, Skin Problems and Lesions, Women's Health
  • Speaks Hindi, Marathi and Urdu, in addition to English

Sujin Grace Kim, D.P.M.

  • Specializes in Podiatry
  • Board Certified in Podiatry

David Pike, M.D.

  • Specializes in Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine
  • Board Certified in Internal Medicine
  • Special Procedures include Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Bhupinder Singh, M.D.

  • Specializes in Internal Medicine
  • Board certified in Internal Medicine
  • Speaks Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi, in addition to English

How to Find Us

The Wound Healing Center at Saint Francis Hospital is located in the West Tower of the Professional Building on the hospital campus. Patients may park in the surface lot on the north side of Austin Street and enter the Professional Building through the Austin Street entrance, or they may park in the hospital parking garage accessible from Sherman Avenue and enter at the main hospital entrance. Parking is free.

For more information, special assistance or to schedule an appointment, call 847 316-4325 (HEAL).

Frequently Asked Questions About HBO Therapy

Is HBO therapy covered by my insurance?

Medicare has approved coverage for HBO therapy for many types of chronic, non-healing wounds. Most private insurance companies follow Medicare's guidelines, as well. We will review your insurance plan with you before your therapy starts to make sure you know what your costs will be, if any.

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) Therapy?

HBO is a medical treatment that increases the amount of oxygen in the patient's blood, allowing oxygen to pass more easily through the plasma into the wounds to heal them. HBO chambers surround patients with 100 percent oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressure.

Who requires extra oxygen?

Usually, there is no benefit to increasing the level of oxygen in the body for normal, healthy individuals. People with certain medical conditions do, however, benefit from increased levels of oxygen.

How do I find out if HBO is for me?

If you have a wound that hasn't healed in four weeks, consult the Wound Healing Center. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be an appropriate part of the treatment plan. A physician at the center will evaluate your wound and determine the best course of treatment.

What should I wear?

Since safety is our priority, we will provide you with clothing to wear during your treatment. Please do not wear any of the following items when you come to the center for HBO therapy:

  • Contact lenses
  • Makeup
  • Wigs or hair pieces
  • Nail polish
  • Skin lotions
  • Perfume, cologne, or aftershave
  • Jewelry, including watches and earrings
  • Hair spray or oils

What should I bring with me?

If you have a movie you would like to share with other patients, please bring it with you. Otherwise, you don't need to bring anything. If you have diabetes, make sure you eat before your treatment begins. If your sinuses are congested or you feel ill, let the technician know so we can make you more comfortable.

Some potential candidates are people with diabetes who have wounds that are slow to heal; people with wounds that haven't shown improvement in four weeks; people with certain bone and skin infections; people with radiation injuries; and people with compromised or failing skin grafts or flaps.

Do I have to go somewhere else for these treatments?

No, you'll come here to the Wound Healing Center for treatment. Your therapy will be supervised by a specially-trained physician and monitored by a technician each day.

How long do HBO treatments last?

On average, treatments last about two hours. This includes the time to pressurize and depressurize the chamber plus 90 minutes at the prescribed treatment pressure.

How many HBO treatments will I need?

The number of HBO treatments is not pre-set because each person responds differently to the therapy. The average number of treatments required to heal a patient with a problem wound is 20 to 40.

How many times a day will I be treated?

For most chronic wounds, HBO therapy each weekday is sufficient.

Is HBO therapy painful?

No, the only sensation you will experience is during the pressurization phase of the treatment. The slowly increasing pressure will push on your eardrums. This is exactly the same feeling you would experience when landing in an airplane or diving to the bottom of a swimming pool. The hyperbaric staff will instruct you about different methods of relieving this ear pressure.

Is HBO therapy dangerous?

No, the treatment is very safe. The Wound Healing Center has very strict procedures that assure your safety and make your treatment comfortable. Before your first treatment, you will be given a thorough orientation.

What can I do during HBO therapy? Can I read a book or newspaper?

Each chamber is equipped with its own television so that you can watch TV or a movie during your treatment. You may not bring anything in the chamber with you, including books and newspapers. Many patients simply use the time to catch up on some well-deserved rest.

Are there any bathroom facilities in the chamber?

No, however it is possible to take a bedpan or urinal in with you during your treatment. The staff can finish the treatment early, if required.

What if I feel claustrophobic?

Interestingly enough, most hyperbaric patients do not suffer from claustrophobia. This could be due to either the large size of the chamber or the fact that it has a clear acrylic shell. From inside the chamber, it is possible to see out in all directions. If you still feel anxious about your treatment, the hyperbaric physician can prescribe medication that will relax you and make your treatment less stressful.

How can I communicate with the technician?

The chamber is equipped with two way communication. You can talk to the outside technician at any time. The technician can talk to you through the chamber microphone.

Call 877-RES-INFO for Nurse Advice, Doctor Referrals or Class Registration Monday - Friday 8 am to 8 pm • Weekends 8 am to 4pm

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