How Do You Treat Pressure Sores?


Quick Answer

Pressure sores, also known as ulcers or bed sores, are treated by repositioning and padding the body and keeping wounds clean and dressed, Merck Manuals states. Doctors may prescribe medication to manage pain or perform surgical skin grafts to repair damaged skin and cover exposed bone.

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Full Answer

Treatment for pressure sores depends on the stage of development and the individual's degree of mobility, Medical News Today notes. In stages one and two, pain, itching and mild skin loss are relieved by frequently turning the patient, providing supportive padding and protecting any wounds from infection. In stage three, individuals typically have severe wounds without muscle damage, making it possible to clear away dead skin with techniques such as debridement, whirlpool baths and laser removal.

Stage four pressure sores can wear away enough skin to damage underlying tissue and expose inner structures, according to Merck Manuals. Improving an individual's nutrition is often necessary before proceeding with surgery and other procedures, because healthy, nutrient-rich tissue and blood are required to apply skin grafts and muscle flaps.

Pressure sores are painful skin lesions that form from prolonged exposure to surface pressure, friction, humidity, bodily waste and other environmental conditions, according to MNT. Sores commonly form on body areas that are cartilaginous, bony and thin-skinned and low in muscle or fatty tissue, such as ankles, knees, shoulders, breasts and elbows. Individuals who frequently sit in wheelchairs are also susceptible to pressure sores on the buttocks, spine and backs of limbs.

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