ZocdocAnswersHow quickly can you develop bed sores?

Question

How quickly can you develop bed sores?

My dad had surgery on his back and has been in bed for two weeks, almost non-stop. Could he get bed sores? How do they develop and how fast can you get them?

Answer

Bed sores (also known as decubitous ulcers) form after someone has been bed bound or chair bound for a prolonged amount of time. They can begin forming after a week or so of lying in the same place, but usually begin getting serious after several weeks to months of being bed bound. These sores form because of pressure being placed on one area of the body over a prolonged period of time. This usually occurs in the back or buttock regions where the most pressure is placed when a person is lying on their back. The pressure on these areas of the body causes a decrease in blood flow which causes the tissues under pressure to begin dying. The sores begin as areas that are just red. After that, the skin breaks down and the underlying tissue become exposed. In extreme circumstances the sores can extend all the way to the bone. These sores can be prevented by removing the pressure on the effected area. This may involve getting the person up out of bed, or having them lye in different positions throughout the day to disperse the pressure. Most hospital beds have built in mechanisms to do this as well. In addition, most nurses are trained to look for them, and perform the necessary maneuvers to prevent the from happening. If your dad does develop bed sores, the best type of physician to treat them is a plastic surgeon. I hope this never becomes necessary, but if it does, you will know who to consult. Good luck.

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