What is the role of skin quality in the etiology of pressure injuries (pressure ulcers)?

Updated: Mar 26, 2020
  • Author: Christian N Kirman, MD; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, MSc, DSc, AGAF  more...
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Answer

The quality of the skin also influences whether pressure leads to ulceration. Paralysis, insensibility, and aging lead to atrophy of the skin with thinning of this protective barrier. A decrease in epidermal turnover, a flattening of the dermal-epidermal junction, and a loss of vascularity occur with advanced age.

In addition, the skin becomes more susceptible to minor traumatic forces, such as the friction and shear forces typically exerted during the moving of a patient. Trauma that causes deepithelialization or skin tears removes the barrier to bacterial contamination and leads to transdermal water loss, creating maceration and causing the skin to adhere to clothing and bedding.


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