Archive for the ‘Dermatological Conditions’ Category

Primary Skin Cancer: Types of Wounds You Might Encounter

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020
primary skin cancer

No matter your practice environment, you’ll likely encounter patients with wounds related to primary skin cancer at some point.

To learn more about primary skin cancer wounds, we spoke with Joni Brinker, MSN/MHA, RN, WCC, an Ohio-based consultant and clinical nurse educator with Optum Hospice Pharmacy Services of Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

She also spoke during a session at our Wild on Wounds (WOW) national conference, for an overview of the need-to-know fundamentals.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in humans, Brinker said. “Generally, skin cancers are seen in older patients, so if you’re working with the elderly such as in long-term care, you’ll likely see skin cancers.”

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Malignant Wounds: How to Identify and Treat Them

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020
malignant wounds

Some wound care clinicians have experience caring for patients with malignant wounds.

But you may not be familiar with them at all. We recently spoke with a malignant wounds expert to learn more about them.

That expert is Joni Brinker, MSN/MHA, RN, WCC, an Ohio-based consultant and clinical nurse educator with Optum Hospice Pharmacy Services of Eden Prairie, Minn.

She is a returning speaker for our 2020 virtual Wild on Wounds (WOW) national conference in September. She offered the following explanation.

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How to Differentiate Stasis Dermatitis from Cellulitis

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020
stasis dermatitis

In my experience, I have encountered the confusion between venous dermatitis and cellulitis that plagues the wound care industry. 

The unlikely diagnosis of “bilateral cellulitis” is not uncommon in wound care, followed by two weeks of unnecessary antibiotic therapy.

Despite some similarities, there are many differentiating characteristics that diagnosing clinicians either overlook or misunderstand. 

In an effort to help clinicians more accurately differentiate the two conditions, we will discuss the differences in this blog post. It will help you prescribe appropriate treatments and improve patient outcomes.

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How to Prevent and Treat Wounds in Skin Folds

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020
skin folds

Wounds in skin folds can be a challenge to prevent and, once present, involve ongoing surveillance and care.

Donald Wollheim, MD, FAPWCA, WCC, DWC, a board-certified surgeon of the American Board of Surgery, shared his insight on best practices for preventing and treating wounds in skin folds if they develop.

As a clinical instructor with our Wound Care Education Institute (WCEI), Wollheim has 25 years of experience in general/vascular surgery and 13 years of experience as a wound care specialist, educator and case reviewer.

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Shingles: Treatment and Managing Pain

Friday, May 26th, 2017

Clinicians can help relieve patient pain and discomfort caused by shingles with these treatment options.

Shingles: Treatment and Managing Pain

Did you know that one in three people in the United States is affected by shingles? This common and very painful skin condition also happens to be made worse by stress – like hospitalization and other chronic illnesses. As clinicians, we are in the position to help reduce patient pain and discomfort as best we can. There is no cure, but there are a variety of treatments that can help.

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Wound Care Challenge: Skin Folds and ITD

Friday, March 31st, 2017

How to identify and treat intertriginous dermatitis (ITD) within the skin folds among obese patients.

Skin Folds and ITD

Statistics show that more than one in three adults in the U.S. are obese (BMI>30). Patients within this population often have skin folds in many areas of the body, especially under the arms, in the groin, under the breasts, and beneath the panniculus – an overhanging “apron” of skin and fatty tissue in the lower abdomen. As a result, this population is more likely to experience a common inflammatory condition called intertriginous dermatitis (ITD) – also known as intertrigo.  But what exactly causes ITD, and what are the best ways to treat it?

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Medical-Related Skin Injury (MARSI)

Monday, June 13th, 2016

If you practice wound care, here’s what you need to know in order to avoid Medical Adhesive Related Skin Injury – also known as MARSI.

Oh Mercy, We Have MARSI!

Here’s a quiz for all of you in wound care: how many medical adhesive injuries are reported each year in the United States? The answer is 1.5 million. That’s a lot of skin tears and other painful dermal injuries that might have been prevented.

The good news is that with continued education, we can all help decrease Medical Adhesive Related Skin Injury (MARSI). This new descriptor in skin injury is definitely something you need to know.

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Moisture Associated Skin Damage: Know Your Type

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Know how to correctly identify these four common types of Moisture Associated Skin Damage (MASD) for best wound care practices.

Moisture Associated Skin Damage (MASD)

It might sound reasonable to assume that Moisture Associated Skin Damage (MASD) is the result of, well … moisture. The fact is that it takes more than just moisture to cause MASD, which is the inflammation and erosion of the skin that’s caused by prolonged exposure to various sources of moisture, including, urine, stool, perspiration, wound exudate, mucous, or saliva.  Skin does not break down in water alone.  However, when moisture on the skin is combined with friction, chemical irritants or bacterial/microbial factors, that’s when the real damage occurs.

For effective wound care, clinicians must be able to properly assess MASD from the onset – even if at first the diagnosis isn’t obvious. It all begins with good clue gathering, and knowing the characteristics of each of the four common types.

Identifying MASD

Because moisture on the skin increases skin permeability (which alters pH and cools the tissue), it compromises the barrier function of the skin’s protective acid mantle. This, in turn, makes the skin more susceptible to friction and shearing forces.

Correct MASD identification is critical for treatment, and should begin as soon as initial signs appear. The first step is to conduct a complete skin assessment. Don’t ever assume that you know what’s going on at first glance. Follow the general rule of thumb for any wound expert, and keep looking! Take your time, be methodical, and note the location, texture, moisture level, maceration, denuding and changes in skin color.

Know your type

Incontinence-Associated Dermatitis (IAD)

One of the most common forms of MASD is incontinence-associated dermatitis (IAD), which is the inflammation of the skin from extended exposure to urine or stool.  You may also know it as perineal dermatitis, irritant dermatitis or diaper rash (in children). The highest-risk patients are those that have both fecal and urinary incontinence.

As mentioned earlier, moisture requires an additional irritant in order to produce MASD. Urine contains ammonia, which increases the skin’s pH and destroys the protective acid mantle.  Adding to the problem, frequent skin cleansing in response to urinary or fecal incontinence can increase the risk of breakdown. Even incontinent briefs can contribute to IAD by causing perspiration in the affected area. Although the briefs pull the actual fluids away, the microclimate remains moist and warm.

So how do you know if it’s IAD? Here are typical characteristics:

  • Found over fatty tissue of the buttocks, perineum, inner thigh and groin (though they can occur over bony prominences).
  • Distributed in a consolidated or patchy formation.
  • Covers diffuse areas, shaped like a mirror image in the skin fold or linear area in the anal cleft.
  • Is superficial or partial thickness in depth. Note: if there’s tissue destruction into the subcutaneous tissue or deeper, it must be staged as a pressure ulcer (for more information, see the WCEI blog “Will the Real Pressure Ulcer Please Stand Up?”)
  • Presents with non-uniform redness in the wound bed, maceration in the surrounding skin and peri-anal redness. No necrosis.
  • Has diffuse and irregular wound margins.

Intertriginous Dermatitis (ITD)

Intertriginous dermatitis, also called intertrigo, is an inflammatory condition of opposing skin surfaces caused by moisture.  You’ll find it in skin folds, such as under the breasts, in the axillary (armpit) area, or inguinal (groin) region. It’s particularly common in obese patients.

Moisture can become trapped in the skin fold, where there is a lack of air circulation.  The excess moisture causes the dead cells in the uppermost layer of the skin (the stratum corneum) to become saturated and then puff up. The result is rough textures (which means they won’t glide very well), and the result is skin-on-skin friction.

Characteristics of ITD:

  • Found in the skin folds.
  • Distributed in a linear, mirror image on each side of the fold
  • Always partial thickness.
  • Presents as mild erythema (redness) that can quickly progress to erosion, oozing, maceration or crusting.
  • Surrounding skin is often macerated and prone to bacterial and fungal infections such as candidiasis.
  • Can be painful, itchy and may produce odor.

It’s important to realize that a patient can suffer from both IAD and ITD at the same time, coexisting side-by-side.

Periwound Moisture-Associated Dermatitis

Periwound moisture-associated dermatitis occurs when the skin adjacent to a chronic wound becomes exposed to exudate or toxins from bacteria in the wound bed, causing inflammation and erosion. This is a result of too much exudate that hasn’t been properly managed. Left untreated, the periwound will eventually break down and the wound will enlarge.

Infected wounds are especially prone to periwound moisture-associated dermatitis because they produce more exudate.  The condition is more common in the elderly and immunocompromised, but our clinical practices can contribute as well. This can be due to a number of risk factors, including improper dressing selection, infrequent dressing changes, and aggressive tape removal.

Peristomal Moisture-Associated Dermatitis

The final common type of MASD is peristomal moisture-associated dermatitis.  This form of inflammation and skin erosion occurs only in ostomy patients.  It begins at the stoma/skin junction, and can extend outward as much as 4 inches in any direction.  As many as 50% of patients with a stoma experience this condition, which can be extremely detrimental to their quality of life.

Peristomal moisture-assisted dermatitis can happen around any stoma, including tracheostomies, gastrostomies, urostomies, and colostomies.  However, ileostomy patients – those with stomas at the small intestine – have the highest risk since the effluent (output from the stoma) is watery and caustic.  When the pouching system leaks due to improper sizing, an uneven peristomal plane or incorrect wear time, the effluent causes skin irritation and potential breakdown.

Pay close attention to the area around the stoma, keeping a close eye out for potential problems, including well-defined erythema, edema, and loss of the epidermis. You may also see papules, vesicles, itching, crusting and oozing. As with other forms of MASD, it’s important to address the problem early.

Do you know your MASD types?

What types of MASD have you encountered the most in your facility, and have you ever had trouble identifying them? Do you have any tips for MASD identification, and has early identification made a difference in patient outcome? Please tell us about your experiences by leaving your comments below.

Wound Care Education Institute® provides online and onsite courses in the fields of Skin, Wound, Diabetic and Ostomy Management. Health care professionals who meet the eligibility requirements may sit for the prestigious WCC®, DWC® and OMS national board certification examinations through the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy® (NAWCO®). For more information see wcei.net.