What are the signs and symptoms 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 clinical presentation of pressure injuries (pressure ulcers) can be deceiving to the inexperienced observer. Soft tissue, muscle, and skin resist pressure to differing degrees. Generally, muscle is the least resistant and will become necrotic before skin breaks down. Also, pressure is not equally distributed from the bony surface to the overlying skin; it is greatest at the bony prominence, decreasing gradually toward the periphery. A small area of skin breakdown may represent only the tip of the iceberg, with a large cavity and extensive undermining of skin edges beneath.


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