Babies Foreskins' Can Help Heal Diabetic Wounds

Preventative diabetic foot care can help keep ulcers at bayYes, you read the headline correctly: a treatment for diabetic ulcers that has been in effect since 2001, and continues to gain popularity, begins with the foreskins of circumcised baby boys.

Cells are extrracted from a circumcised foreskin — the foreskin is a good choice because the young cells inside are active and ready for quick regeneration. Once extracted, foreskin cells are cultured to produce billions of similar cells which are then combined with proteins and some other agents to create thin strips (called Dermagraft and Apligraf) that can be placed over tough-to-heal diabetic wounds. The scientists behind these products promise that the finished product bears no resemblance to its body part of origin. In truth, the cell lines that are used for the grafts are of the original donor foreskins.

For some diabetic patients, this type of treatment can be effective. They are not a first-line treatment, however. In order to be a candidate for these biologic dressings, a patient must have adequate circulation, no infection, and no exposure of bone. If conventional methods are insufficient to have the wound progress towards healing, these biologic graft dressings are considered. While they are expensive, studies have shown that all long-term outcomes, along with the lowest economic impact, is best the faster a diabetic foot ulcer can be healed.

In my Tanglewood Foot Specialists office, I work with my patients to promote great preventative diabetic foot care. The plans we develop include daily home foot inspections, regular in-office podiatrist visits, healthy exercise regimens, appropriate shoe choices and more.

If you have diabetes in Houston, schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider today. Be proactive about your foot health and you should be able to avoid costly ulcer treatments like these skin grafts.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.