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What are the best treatments for pressure sores?

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Quick Answer

Pressure sores are treated with pressure reduction; cleaning and dressing the wound; removing damaged tissue; pain management; and strategies to help promote wound healing, explains Mayo Clinic. The first step of treatment involves regular repositioning. Patients who use a wheelchair need to shift their weight every 15 minutes.

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Full Answer

Patients who are bedridden should ask for assistance to change their position hourly, according to Mayo Clinic. An additional approach is to use support surfaces such as special cushions that help reduce pressure. Regular wound cleaning helps prevent infections, and skin that is not broken should be washed with mild soap and patted dry. Open wounds need to be cleaned with saline every time the dressing is changed.

Wound healing is promoted by removing damaged, dead and infected tissue, states Mayo Clinic. Surgical debridement is a procedure during which the doctor cuts away dead tissue. During mechanical debridement, the doctor uses a pressurized irrigation device, a low-frequency mist ultrasound or specialized gauze to loosen and remove debris from the wound. Enzymatic debridement involves the use of chemical enzymes to break down dead tissue.

Pressure sores can cause a great deal of pain, which is treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, notes Mayo Clinic. Pain associated with dressing changes and debridement is managed with topical pain medications. Infected pressure sores are treated with oral or topical antibiotics. Wound healing is promoted with a healthy diet; incontinence management; relief of muscle spasms; and negative pressure therapy.

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