What Are Bed Sores?
They are also commonly called pressure sores, ulcers, decubitus ulcers, and pressure ulcers. They are open injuries observed on your skin and underlying tissues. They are caused due to prolonged pressure on your skin, like when you are confined to a bed or a wheelchair for long periods of time.
Where Does The Pressure Sores Appear?
Bedsores or pressure sores mostly occur on the bony areas of the skin on your body. The most common places they occur are your:
People with certain medical conditions restrict them to change positions and make them spend most of their lives in one place; people with fragile skin and decreased mobility are at more risk of bedsores.
Different Stages Of Bed Sores
Bedsores are categorized into four different stages based on their severity. The staging process even helps the doctor to diagnose and provide appropriate treatment.
The skin looks intact, but the affected area looks discoloured like red or blue to purple based on skin complexion. Skin feels warm and swollen when you touch. There could be a burning or itchy sensation.
In this stage, your skin breaks, and the sore might be open. It might appear like a blister filled with pus or fluid. The skin surrounding the sore might be discoloured and painful.
In stage three, the ulcer penetrates deeper into the skin. It affects the deeper layers and looks like a crater.
This is a severe stage. Here your skin and tissue get damaged critically. The sore turns out to be a large wound. You can even see your muscle, bones, and joints.
If it gets infected, it takes a longer time to heal. The infection is likely to spread to the other parts of your body.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pressure Sores?
The symptoms of bedsores vary according to their stages. Based on the stage, you might experience any of the following symptoms:
- Skin discolouration
- Pain around the sore
- Thick, yellow or green pus in case of infection
- Open skin
- Fever & Chills
- Skin becomes softer or firmer surrounding sore
Taking treatment in the early stages can help you to avoid serious health issues in the future.
What Are The Causes Of Pressure Sores?
Pressure sores are a preventable condition. Most of them are caused by Prolonged pressure due to lying on a specific area for a long duration is the leading cause of pressure sores. Pressure sores can begin as fast as within hours if you retain in the same position.
Other factors like constant moisture, friction, inadequate blood supply, and lack of nutrition also contribute to developing this condition. Moisture can be due to sweat, urine, faeces etc.
Treatment For Pressure Sores
The treatment for the sores depends on the stage and severity of the condition.
Initial two stages of pressure sore are treated conservatively. Precautions are taken to avoid worsening of the grade of pressure.
Of them, the most important is
- Wound care – regular cleaning and inspection of skin for changes
- Regular change in the position of patient/ encouraging ambulation/ help from a physiotherapist to mobilise the patient.
- Use of air bed to avoid further pressure over wounds and to promote healing.
- Perineal care and always keeping the areas dry.
- A nutritious diet for faster recovery
Worser grades of pressure sore would necessitate surgical treatment
Preliminary surgery would involve Debridement – to remove the infection or dead tissue.
Flap surgery – after the wound is healthy, patients own skin is used to reconstruct and replace the lost tissues also providing a durable cover for the future.
In patients who have larger sized pressure sores or when the patient is not fit for multiple surgeries due to their general health condition, alternative treatment options like negative pressure wound therapy may be helpful before doing a flap surgery.
After the healing of bedsore, regular wound care, ambulation and other preventive measures go a long way to prevent further pressure sores.
For more information and other treatment options for bedsores, consult our plastic surgeons @HYDERABAD PLASTIC SURGEONS.