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Pressure Sores


Pressure sores, also called bedsores, or decubitusulcers, are regions of skin that break down when you sit or lie in one positionfor too long.

These wounds occur most frequentlyin areas where your bones are close to the skin, including: your heels, ankles,hips, tailbone, or elbows.

Constant pressure toone of these areas compresses the blood vessels that supply your skin withoxygen and vital nutrients.

Without a sufficientamount of blood flow, your skin’s cells eventually die, and a pressure soreforms.

Pressure sores are categorized by degreesof severity.

A Stage I pressure sore isreddened, inflamed and does not blanch, or become pale, when pressure isapplied.

A Stage II pressure sore appears as ablister or an open sore. The area surrounding the sore may be red andirritated.

A Stage III pressure sore involves afull-thickness loss of skin that appears crater-like, and extends to the layerof fat beneath your skin.

Stage IV is the mostsevere. A stage IV ulcer is a full-thickness wound that extends down to theunderlying muscle or bone.

In 2007, the NationalPressure Ulcer Advisory Panel added two more ulcer stages: suspected deep tissueinjury, and unstageable.

Suspected deep tissueinjury is a maroon or purple area of skin, and may contain a blister filled withblood.

It looks like this because of damaged softtissue underneath your skin.

An unstageable ulceris a full-thickness loss of tissue.

However, theamount of tissue loss cannot be determined because the ulcer is covered by deadtissue.

To prevent infection in your pressuresore, your doctor will clean your wound, using water and a mild soap or salinesolution.

If your wound is severe, your doctorwill debride, or surgically remove, the dead tissue from the pressuresore.

To protect and hydrate your wound, yourdoctor may cover it with a specialized bandage.