SAN ANTONIO – Thousands of diabetics undergo amputation because wounds, mostly on feet and legs, just won't heal.
Up until now, hyperbaric oxygen was the primary option, but it is expensive and time-consuming.
But there is now a quick, new shock wave treatment called dermaPace, which acoustically stimulates deep tissue, helping to heal diabetic wounds.
"When he did that, I could feel it going into the skin," said Mark Gomez, a longtime diabetic.
Gomez suffers from significant open wounds, which was triggered by his battle with the disease.
"This is a good alternative for patients who are not healing. You basically give 360 shocks for a minute. And it lasts two to four minutes, so it's not really complicated; it's pretty easy," said Dr. Jayesh B. Shah, medical director at Northeast Baptist Wound Care Center.
DermaPACE helps the body create new tissue and blood vessels caused by peripheral artery disease, a hallmark of diabetes. And according to longtime diabetic Jerry Fernandez, who has already had his first treatment, it's a quicker, faster alternative to the hyperbaric oxygen chamber.
"The new treatment that they have, it only lasts about five minutes, total, for setups and all that. You go into the hyperbaric chamber and you will do it for two hours. They just kinda rub it around on your foot, and it's done," Fernandez said.
For now, Shah is one of a handful of physicians nationwide clinically evaluating dermaPACE.
"It's completely brand-new technology; it's kind of breakthrough compared to what we had so far in wound care," Shah said.
DermaPACE is being evaluated in six states and the cost per treatment has not been announced.
The hyperbaric treatments run $500 to $1,000.