pressure sores

Complications That Can Arise From Pressure Sores

Pressure sores or ulcers should be treated as soon as possible to stop potentially life-threatening complications. Once a pressure sore reaches grade three or four, the wound is open. This puts the healthy, surrounding tissue at risk.

There are numerous complications that can arise from untreated pressure sores. One of the most common complications is cellulitis. This is a condition that happens when an infection has spread from the original site of the pressure sore to the deeper layers of skin. It causes redness, pain, and swelling. When pressure sores treatment is undertaken at this stage, it will need to include a course of antibiotics. If left untreated, it can spread to the bones or even to the blood; this causes blood poisoning. If the pressure sore is on the back, then there is a risk of the infection entering the spinal membranes, potentially leading to meningitis. 

Other complications that can arise, particularly if wound care is not received promptly, include necrotising fasciitis. This occurs when certain bacteria known as flesh-eating bacteria enter the body and cause tissue to die rapidly. This can only be solved with fast action including surgical debridement and antibiotics. 

Another form of bacteria that can cause serious complications is clostridium, which results in gas gangrene and potentially the need for amputation of affected limbs to stop it from spreading. 

Of course, there are other types of sores, like mouth sores, and they require specialist treatment from the likes of Dr. Saidapet R. Sridhar or another expert with a similar level of experience. 

Understanding Debridement

Treatment of pressure sores often requires a multi-phased approach combining preventative measures to stop the deterioration of the affected area, and other treatments to heal the ulcer. One essential treatment in many cases is debridement or the removal of necrotic skin and tissue in the wound.

Once a pressure sore has reached stage two, the skin and tissue in the affected area begin to break down. This opens the area to the air and potentially to infection from bacteria. As the health of the tissue deteriorates, it dies. At this point, it is known as necrotic tissue. To encourage the growth of healthy tissue and skin, and stop the spread of infection, this tissue needs to be removed. This process is known as debridement and can be achieved in a number of different ways.

Before any debridement takes place, the area will usually be treated with a local anesthetic. This prevents further pain or discomfort while the pressure sores treatment is being carried out. Methods such as pressure irrigation and ultrasound debridement are often the first courses of action taken. However, the use of surgical tools, such as scalpels and forceps, may be needed where several layers of tissue are affected. Where these forms of wound care are either not appropriate or have been unsuccessful, larval therapy may be tried, using sterile maggots that are covered with a special dressing. The use of maggots in this way ensures that only the dead skin and tissue is removed, while healthy tissue is unaffected.

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