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Skin Care & Pressure Sores


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Stages of pressure sores

NORMAL SKIN

illustration of a cross-section of normal, healthy skin

 

STAGE 1

Skin is not broken but is red or discolored. When you press on it, it stays red and does not lighten or turn white (blanch). The redness or change in color does not fade within 30 minutes after pressure is removed.

Click here to see photo: Stage 1

illustration of cross-section of a stage 1 pressure sore

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STAGE 2

The topmost layer of skin (epidermis) is broken, creating a shallow open sore. The second layer of skin (dermis) may also be broken. Drainage may or may not be present.

Click here to see photo: Stage 2

illustration of cross-section of a stage 2 pressure sore

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STAGE 3

The wound extends through the dermis (second layer of skin) into the subcutaneous (below the skin) fat tissue. Bone, tendon and muscle are not visible. Look for signs of infection (pus, drainage) and possible necrosis (black, dead tissue).

Click here to see photo: Stage 3

illustration of cross-section of a stage 3 pressure sore

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STAGE 4

The wound extends into the muscle and can extend as far down as the bone. Usually lots of dead tissue and drainage are present. There is a high possibility of infection.

Click here to see photo: Stage 4

illustration of cross-section of a stage 4 pressure sore

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SUSPECTED DEEP TISSUE INJURY

Click here to see photo: Deep tissue injury

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Reference

Pressure Ulcer Stages Revised, by National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (2007). <http://www.npuap.org>.

[Return to Part 3: Recognizing and Treating Pressure Sores]

Copyright and source information

©2009 Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC). This publication was produced by the SCI Model Systems in collaboration with the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (http://msktc. washington.edu) with funding from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research in the U.S. Department of Education, grant no. H133A060070.

Our health information content is based on research evidence and/or professional consensus and has been reviewed and approved by an editorial team of experts from the SCI Model Systems.