After a spinal cord injury, you may be left facing permanent or temporary paralysis in one or more areas of the body. In addition to the challenges that accompany paralysis comes the risk of suffering several types of potentially severe complications. One such example of a complication stemming from paralysis is the development of skin pressure sores, also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers. When these sores or ulcers develop, it is crucial that victims seek medical attention. If left untreated, these sores could result in serious infection, require surgery, and even be life threatening.
Four Stages of Skin Pressure Sores Resulting From Spinal Injuries
Skin pressure sores go through four stages of development and severity, and each stage has its own treatment plan:
During stage one, the skin is not broken, but it is red.
The color does not fade after 30 seconds of pressure is removed from the area. Victims can generally treat the sore by staying off the affected area and maintaining proper hygiene.
During stage two, the top layer of the skin is broken.
The sore is shallow, but open, and drainage may be present. The wound must be cleansed and a dressing must be applied.
During stage three, the skin has broken down into the second layer of skin and subcutaneous fat tissue.
A doctor should be consulted for treatment.
During stage four, the skin has broken down to the bone and muscle.
At this stage, immediate medical attention is required. The victim may require surgery. Stage four skin pressure sores can be life threatening.
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