Pressure ulcers can be sore spots for patients

Pressure ulcers, also caused bedsores, can develop when you lie or sit in one position for too long. Pressure ulcers are injuries in your skin that usually happen where your skin is close to bone, such as around your ankles, hips and tailbone. If you use a wheelchair or are bedridden, you are at risk of pressure ulcers. Patients at hospitals or nursing homes are also at a high risk of pressure ulcers.

Many hospitals have systems in place to prevent pressure ulcers and keep patients healthy. Pressure ulcers can lead to serious infections if not treated properly.

Movement, cleaning prevents pressure ulcers

To prevent pressure ulcers, you should move or get help changing positions every two hours to release pressure on certain areas of your body. You should also keep your skin clean and dry.

To treat early stage pressure ulcers, you may work with a physical therapist on ways to move and shift your weight to let ulcers heal and prevent new ones from developing. Physical therapists can also dress your pressure ulcer wounds and teach you how to keep them clean. Pressure ulcers are commonly cleaned with a saltwater solution to help prevent infection.

Debridement cleans out pressure ulcers, speeds healing

In later stages of pressure ulcers, you may need more treatment to prevent infection and help the ulcer heal. Your doctor can use different debridement techniques to remove infected or damaged tissue and keep the wound clean. Techniques include:

  • Surgical debridement – During surgical debridement, your doctor cuts away tissues. You will receive regional or general anesthesia during the surgery so that you won’t feel any pain.
  • Mechanical debridement – For this technique, your doctor may use water or an ultrasound to loosen up dead tissue and get it out of your pressure ulcer.
  • Autolytic debridement – Special bandages can help your body heal pressure ulcers faster by strengthening your body’s ability to destroy dead cells.
  • Enzymatic debridement – Enzymatic chemicals and bandages break down dead tissues in pressure ulcers to help you heal.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.