Decubitus ulcers are also referred to as pressure sores or bed sores. This type of injury is often preventable and involves deep skin tissue. Decubitus ulcers are extremely dangerous because they can increase the likelihood of infection and disease in patients. This can end in amputation or death in the most severe cases. Not all decubitus ulcers are the same, so decubitus ulcer staging is used to identify the type of ulcer and determine the treatment that is best.
Stage 1 Decubitus Ulcers
These types of ulcers refer to sores where the skin is still intact, which means that an open wound is not visible. This stage is best identified with a redness color on the skin and pain to the touch. The redness color often only appears when pressure is applied, which is known as blanching. It is important to keep an eye on patients with darker skin coloring, because it is difficult to identify decubitus ulcers in this stage in these types of patients.
Stage 2 Decubitus Ulcers
Decubitus ulcer staging defined in category 2 involves a sore that is opened slightly. This opened sore is due to pressure and can be avoided if patients are moved or flipped often to relive pressure that causes this type of sore. In most cases, decubitus ulcers in stage 2 look similar to blisters or scrapes. The wound that occurs can leave permanent damage to some parts of the affected skin.
Stage 3 Decubitus Ulcers
This type of skin ulcer involves a deeper wound than what is evident at stage 2. The wound is deeper, but there is no visible sign of bone, muscles, or tendons. However, the fatty tissue around the wound might be exposed and vulnerable to infection.
Stage 4 Decubitus Ulcers
This is the most severe type of decubitus ulcer stage and has the deepest wound. Not only is the skin damaged, but joints, muscles and tendons around the skin can also be damaged and are often exposed. This deep open wound is a problem, because it leads to severe infections and diseases that can ravish the immune system of patients. Once the bone becomes infected during this stage, it can lead to death or the need for amputation.
The stages of decubitus ulcers progress quickly and must be managed before they reach stage 4. These sores are often preventable and measures must be taken to ensure that infection, death and amputation do not occur.