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Helping patients recover from foot ulcers, faster

The following blog is written by Lucia Michailidis, a senior podiatrist at Peninsula Health. She explains some of the research she has been conducting, which is changing the way podiatrists treat diabetic patients with foot ulcers, around the world.

I’m very passionate about my job, working within a multidisciplinary team to help patients with diabetes and foot ulcers recover as quickly as possible. 

I’ve been working in this field for almost ten years and during this time I have been involved in a lot of research, to help improve outcomes for patients.

I’ve just finished leading research into using a debridement (the removal of dead, damaged or infected tissue) technique called low frequency ultrasound. This particular technique has not been well investigated in this population of patients, here on the Mornington Peninsula. I wanted to undertake this research so there was more evidence about treatment options available for teams treating diabetic foot ulcers.  

The research had three separate components.  The first looked at the infection control impacts of using low frequency ultrasound debridement in the clinical environment. This technique uses saline combined with ultrasound that is delivered in a fine mist directly to the ulcer surface to remove any non-viable tissue and encourages ulcer healing.  The distance of the fine mist was measured in the outpatient and inpatient settings. The findings from this work immediately changed clinical practice guidelines nationally and internationally around the use of low frequency ultrasound debridement to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

The second research project was a clinical trial undertaken investigating how effective low frequency ultrasound debridement is compared to standard care (non-surgical sharps debridement) in diabetic foot ulcers over a six month period. 

The final component of the research was to determine how effective low frequency ultrasound debridement would need to be in order to justify its higher expenses compared to standard care (non-surgical sharps debridement)

I hope to continue sharing the results of this research with both Australian and International clinicians who manage diabetic foot ulcers to assist in guiding best practice for both health professionals and patients.

Patients requiring podiatry support should call 9784 8100.

Health professionals interested in Lucia’s research can contact her via email.