In fact, every year about 500,000 patients in the U.S. develop surgical site infections, which claim more than ten-thousand lives.
Now a new simple treatment for wounds can help heal them before they have a chance to kill.
Even walking short distances used to be too much for Delores Gray.
"I couldn't walk a half a block without having to stop; my leg would ache so bad," Gray explained.
She'd had surgery before for a blocked artery, but a new blockage meant another surgery.
"The first time, the one side, took forever to heal," said Gray.
But this time around doctors used a new wound healing therapy known as pico.
Pico is a hand-held pump, which works by sealing an advanced airtight dressing around the wound.
Dr. Victor d'Addio, vascular surgeon said, "That actually draws the exudate or the fluid from the wound away from the wound."
The negative pressure also encourages blood flow, speeding up the healing process.
"And so a week after their surgery, their wound is healed," Dr. D'Addio said.
Surgical site infections cost the health care system billions of dollars a year because of longer hospital stays, re-admissions, and treatment, making advances in wound care all the more important.
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