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If you suspect you’ve spotted a developing bedsore, the first thing to do is to take the pressure off the area involved, and to keep it clean and dry to prevent development of a full-blown ulcer. Then have a medical professional take a look to see if there are signs of infection.
If an infection has developed, a doctor may order tests to determine if the infection has spread to muscles or bones or another part of the body. Tests may include blood tests, lab tests of tissue samples, x-rays, MRI’s or a bone scan. Infections are treated with antibiotic ointments, pills or intravenously.
Depending on the stage of the bedsore, healthcare professionals may use a protective film or lubricant on the areas of unbroken skin near the bedsore to keep the sore from spreading. Special dressings are usually applied to the bedsore itself to promote healing or to remove small areas of dead tissue. Large areas of dead tissue may require surgery. Deep bedsores may need skin grafts or reconstructive surgery.
How long does it take for a bedsore to heal?
Time to heal depends on the stage of the bedsore:
Stage 1 – It’s possible to reverse this type of bedsore in about three days if you take the pressure off the site as soon as you spot it. Fast action is critical.
Stage 2— Healing time is 2-3 weeks. Get the pressure off, and consult your health care provider right away. There may be an infection that needs treatment.
Stage 3 –Healing time is 1-4 months, depending on the extent of the infection. Special wound care is often required to deal with the infection. A bed with a pressure-relieving mattress can be ordered by your healthcare provider if needed.
Stage 4—Healing can take from three months to two years. Surgery is frequently required.
Physical therapists are often involved in the treatment of a serious bedsore; they can also help find ways to prevent a recurrence: