Phototherapy for Speeding Up Open Wound Granulation?

Following surgical removal of squamous cell carcinoma on my shin, my 2 inch diameter full-skin graft had to be partially removed at 31/2 weeks. Would phototherapy speed up the granulation of a 1/4" deep open wound?

Doctor Answers 2

Perhaps LED device

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You must be patient. The shin area is notorious for slow healing, especially in the aged. This is due to the diminished blood supply and as Dr. Mariwella points out, healing in slowest the further away from the heart.

Back when I was in pathology and we had to dissect a leg, a fairly common event since many below and above knee amputations are performed annually due to diabetes, this was a difficult area to find the vasculature.

There is some evidence that LED light sources such as GentleWaves might help healing as can hyperbaric chambers.

However, patience, good wound care, keeping your legs elevated are more practical areas of advice.

Virginia Beach Dermatologist

Wound healing on the shin

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Dear Grandmotherbarb,

Unfortunately the short answer is no. Wound healing is slowest in the areas that are farthest from the heart (e.g. foot, ankle, lower leg). In addition, the shin area has poor blood supply compared to other parts of the lower leg (like the calf for example). So, there are 2 things working to slow down wound healing - 1) the location on the lower leg and 2) location on the shin. To speed up wound healing, I recommend leg elevation when you can and compression (like wearing an ace wrap) when you are standing on your feet for more than 1 hour. This will help circulation and speed up healing. Phototherapy is unlikely to help.

Good luck,

Dr. Mariwalla

Kavita Mariwalla, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

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