Wound Care Minute: How to Measure Depth of a Wound Covered by Slough or Eschar

Published on February 17, 2017 by Keisha Smith, MA, CWCMS

In this 90-second video, WCEI co-founder Nancy Morgan answers a common measurement question: how do you measure wound depth when there’s slough or eschar in the way?


Hi, I’m Nancy Morgan, co-founder of the Wound Care Education Institute, and today’s question is: How do I measure depth when there’s slough and eschar in the way?

Well, let’s do a little mini review. If we have slough and eschar in the way, that means we’re at a full thickness wound. That means the epidermis and the dermis are removed. Now, if we look at the thickness of the epidermis, well, it is as thin as this sheet of paper. The dermis is as thick as this credit card. And beneath that is the subcutaneous tissue and it goes all the way down to the muscle bone. That means it’s a full thickness wound.

So, if I had to measure depth and I had slough and eschar in the way, this is what I would do because it would be hard to measure. You would write < 0.1 cm, and that shows that you have an open, active wound. As you use the right product and start debriding that, that depth will increase. Hope that helps! If you have any questions you can email me at [email protected] Thanks for watching, keep healing!

To learn more wound care tips, view the webinar “Insider Secrets to Wound Care” for FREE with using the code WCMINUTE.

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.

Keisha Smith, MA, CWCMS
Keisha Smith, MA, CWCMS

Keisha Smith, MA, CWCMS, is a freelance digital marketing consultant who works with clients in healthcare, law and behavioral health. Her specialties include content creation, social media and brand clarity. As an eight-time Wild On Wounds conference staff member and an alumna of WCEI's training program for wound care marketing professionals, she loves the exceptional passion of clinicians who treat wounds. She frequently finds herself advising friends and family to keep their minor wounds warm and moist.

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