What is a deep tissue injury?

A deep tissue injury is a unique form of pressure ulcer. The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel defines a deep tissue injury as “A pressure-related injury to subcutaneous tissues under intact skin. Initially, these lesions have the appearance of a deep bruise. These lesions may herald the subsequent development of a Stage III-IV pressure ulcer even with optimal treatment.”(NPAUP, 2005). Why is it important to have yet another stage for pressure ulcers? The answer lies in the fact that, even with proper treatment, deep tissue injuries can deteriorate quickly into your worst nightmare.


The Problem With Deep Tissue Injuries

The problem with deep tissue injuries is that they are not readily apparent. A patient who has fallen at home and lain on the floor for a day may be admitted to the hospital and have every inch of skin examined upon admission, and then develop the tell-tale area of purplish discoloration several days after admission. In many cases, hospitals and other care facilities are being blamed (and payment is being withheld) when patients end up with a gaping hole in their sacrum that takes several months (and several trips to the OR) to heal, if they don’t succumb to their injury … read more