Postoperative blistering

Understanding and preventing wound blistering: important for wound-care professionals and patients

By: Mölnlycke Health Care, May 8 2013Posted in: Postoperative blistering

Postoperative wound blistering can cause pain, discomfort and persistent wound leakage, and carries a risk of surgical site infection. Ousey, Gillibrand and Stephenson undertook a comparative study of the current literature to find a way of reducing the statistical rates of blistering.

A study by Wright estimated the incidence of blistering to be between 13-35 percent. The Polatsch study concluded that one in five people developed blistering after hip surgery due to tape-related injuries. Roughly one in five patients in the Clarke study developed blistering when their wounds were treated with conventional adhesive dressings.

Ousey, Gillibrand and Stephenson soon identified a common factor throughout all these studies – namely a statistically significant correlation between the types of dressings used and the rate of blistering observed. They noted that when dressings maintain a warm, moist healing environment, protect the periwound area and do not adhere to the surrounding skin, the rates of postoperative blistering drop.

In Meuleneire’s later study, out of the 80 percent of the patients suffering from skin lesions as a result of poor dressing choices, a cohort was switched to a thin, self-adherent five-layered absorbent foam with a soft silicone contact layer. None of them (10/10) developed even a minor blister around their postoperative wounds.

Read the article Understanding and preventing wound blistering here (734 kB pdf).

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