Sixty-three-year-old Joe Miller from Hastings, is still trying to recover from a wound that developed a few years ago, after surgery for a ruptured achilles tendon. "It was awful deep, it was into the bone and the Achilles tendon was exposed," he says.
The autoimmune disease, sarcoidosis, and circulation problems impede his body's natural ability to heal. "There was many a day or nights when I kept thinking please, just take my foot off, " had adds.
Dr. Donald Mrdjenovich, a wound specialist, has been treating Joe's ankle area at a clinic in Northern Cambria. "I think it's kind of a hidden problem," he says. "I think a lot of times people have chronic wounds, they think it's like when they were younger, it's a cut, it will heal, but it doesn't."
According to the National Institutes of Health, about 6.5 million Americans have chronic wounds and undergo more than 70 million surgeries and other procedures every year to try to heal them.
One of the newest therapies, launched in April is an allograft, a human tissue transplant using a placenta from a full-term human pregnancy.
Dr. Mrdjenovich says since he started using Biovance on Joe about 7 weeks ago, the wound has shrunken by at least half.
"It basically promotes the growth of other tissues by donating protein. It acts basically as a scaffolding for the wound, promoting the integration of other cells that will help build up other tissues and help that wound to heal," he explains.
Dr Mrdjenovich believes this therapy which regenerates the body's own ability to heal, is the future of wound treatment and he's optimistic it will make the difference for Joe.
He says, "I think it is possible especially with his excellent response so far, I think we're almost there."
Joe's still having pain, and isn't quite as positive, but he is hopeful. His dream? "That I can get out and push the lawnmower around or shovel snow," he says, laughing.
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