An Icelandic curing method used to treat diabetic ulcers has been used in East Sussex for the first time.
Audrey Green, 87, is the first patient to use the method, which is still in the consultation process and includes placing cod skin, farmed in the North Atlantic sea, onto the affected area and then dressing.
The fish skin is cut to size and fits perfectly into the wound. The patient’s skin cells then form around the fish skin and turn into functional, living tissue. This prevents the wound from reopening in the future.
Bev Sedgwick, Mrs Green’s daughter, said: “We have done all the other alternative treatments.
“We know the healing process will be quite slow, but this treatment is quite personal to the patient.”
Mrs Green has been using the treatment for 10 weeks at a cost of £58 per dressing, which is not funded by the NHS.
Deidre Waite, Mrs Green’s daughter, said: “We found that previous treatments were taking us one step forward and two steps back. It is very expensive to do but it is now or never.”
The treatment is carried out by a specialist doctor at Martins Oak Surgery in Battle. Mrs Sedgwick said: “I am extremely grateful to the doctors for their help. It is wonderful for the surgery. It’s not often that the surgery will take on something new like this.”
Mrs Green said: “The treatment is going well and I have high hopes for the future that I will be able to start walking around properly again.”
The treatment was developed by an Icelandic company called Kerecis and is commissioned by Pierson Surgical. The method can also be used for breast reconstruction and hernia repair.
Diabetic ulcers cost the NHS an estimated £639 million each year. There are four million people living with diabetes in the UK at present. This is six per cent of the total population.
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