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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    SF bay area
    Posts
    151

    gelfoam/wound healing?

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    Anyone have any experience with this stuff? I cut the tip off of my finger two weeks ago and the ER plugged the wound with gelfoam to stop bleeding. They said that it would "be absorbed" and not to remove it. Well, it's been two weeks and the 2-3 mm thick gelfoam isn't going anywhere. It appears to have welded itself into my finger, and looks kind of gross actually (though the wound is not infected and appears to be healing so far as I can tell since it's covered with gelfoam).

    Anyone have experience with this stuff and know when it will dissolve/be absorbed/wear away, or if I should return to doc to have something done? thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Norwood, MA
    Posts
    485
    There are several brands of the foam dressings around. Some are just to stop bleeding, but others actually are forming a bridge to help cells migrate across the wound and speed healing. Not knowing what exact one was used, I would call the ER and ask how much longer. Alternatively, call your primary care provider and ask if they have gotten a report from the ER and ask them how long it should take. Since they told you to not remove it, I suspect that it is forming a "cell bridge" and removing it would just re-open the wound. My experience with these sponges is all veterinary, but they give amazing results in non-sutureable wounds in dogs & cats.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    SF bay area
    Posts
    151
    I have the package, it was gelfoam absorbable gelatin sponge, single use hemostatic device. It appears to be stuck to/in the healing wound, so I do think that peeling it off would be gory.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Purdue
    Posts
    84
    I would have it checked out - or at least call the office to let them know how it's progressing. It might be that your body is just slower at eliminating it.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I dissolved my 3-day dissolving stitches from my wisdom teeth surgery in less than a day.
    My bike is my Benz.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    SF bay area
    Posts
    151
    I am updating this thread, since I periodically get PMs on this topic!

    I did remove the gelfoam and that was a bad move. While the edges of the wound were healed (new skin and all), the deeper core of the wound was raw and open and gooey. Removing the gelfoam was both painful (the process) and exposed an open, painful wound. The finger was quite tender and painful (without the protective gelfoam cover) and I think the removal probably extended the healing time. Scarring did not seem to be impacted (the scar is barely visible at this point, which is good!)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    1,998
    I wish the ER would have put this stuff in a dog bite wound I had in 2001 (a chunk taken out of my calf). It took two months to heal---doctor would not stitch it because it might seal in infection. I had it covered with a big bandage all that time and as a result, developed an allergy to the bandage adhesive. While it was interesting to watch the healing progress, new tissue, fat layer, and skin grow, it would have been better to have some better protection for the wound. Something that promoted healing. Got a big scar to match the teeth marks (puncture wounds) on the front of my calf.

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    1,972
    They used something like that to glue my back shut after surgery. Fortunately, I couldn't pick at it, but the doctor did eventually end up peeling a bunch of stuff off (4 weeks later) that my body had eventually rejected. I was more than happy to have him do it instead of me, though I felt kind of like an animal being groomed (ewww).

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