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Skin substitutes: Understanding product differences

Skin substitutes (also called tissuebased products and dermal replacements) are a boon to chronic wound management when traditional therapies have failed. When selecting skin substitutes for their formularies, wound care professionals have many product options—and many decisions to make.

Repair of skin defects has been a pressing concern for centuries. As early as the 15th century BC, Egyptian physicians chronicled procedures and herbal treatments to heal wounds, including xenografts (skin from another species). The practice of applying allografts (human cadaver skin) to wounds was first documented in 1503. In 1871, autologous skin grafting (skin harvested from the the person with the wound) was tried. Next came epithelial- cell seeding, which involves scraping off the superficial epithelium of healthy skin and transplanting the cells onto the wound. (more…)

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Skin Damage Associated with Moisture and Pressure

American Nurse Today webinars

Skin damage associated with moisture and pressure

Program Objectives

  • Identify how wounds are classified according to wound depth and etiology.
  • Describe the etiology of a pressure injury (PI) and incontinence-associated skin damage (IAD).
  • Discuss evidence-based protocols of care of prevention and management if IAD and PIs.
  • Describe the NPUAP-EPUAP Pressure Injury Classification System.
  • Identify appropriate products that can be used for preventioin and treatment of IAD and PIs.

Our Speakers

Linda Moore, BSN, RN, CWON
Featured Speaker | Linda Moore BSN, RN, CWON Clinical Resource Specialist ConvaTec
Cynthia Saver, MS, RN
Moderator | Cynthia Saver MS, RN


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Winning the battle of skin tears in an aging population

ON DEMAND webinar

Winning the battle of skin tears in an aging population

This April 25th, 2017 webinar overviews a significant challenge that healthcare providers encounter daily.

“Skin tears” may sound like a relatively minor event, but in reality, these injuries can have a significant impact on the quality of patients’ lives in the form of pain, infection, and limited mobility. The incidence of skin tears has been reported to be as high as 1.5 million annually, and with an aging population, this number is likely to go higher. In this webinar, experts will explain how nurses can use an evidence-based approach—including following practice guidelines to assess the wound and select the proper dressing—for managing skin tears and minimizing their negative effects.


Our Speakers

The skin tear challenge

Kimberly LeBlanc, MN, RN, CETN(C) Advanced practice nurse

Kimberly LeBlanc
Advanced practice nurse, KDS Professional Consulting President, International Skin Tear Advisory Panel
An expert in skin tears, Kimberly will briefly set the stage by addressing the seriousness of skin tears and briefly addressing assessment such as classification.

The main focus will be on management, including goals of care, wound cleaning, wound bed preparation, and dressing selection.

Content will include information from the 2016 consensus statement on skin tears published in Advances in Skin & Wound Care.


Tips and techniques for managing dressings for skin tears

Shannon Cyphers, RN, BSN, WCC Clinical Account Manager ConvaTec, Inc.

Shannon Cyphers

Clinical Account Manager, ConvaTec, Inc.
Shannon will present wound and skin care product applications to help manage skin tears.


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*By downloading this (product) you are opting in to receiving information from Healthcom Media and Affiliates. Or the details, including your email address/mobile number, may be used to keep you informed about future products and services.
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Fish Skin for Human Wounds: Iceland’s Pioneering Treatment

Fish Skin for Human Wounds

The FDA-approved skin substitute reduces inflammation and transforms chronic wounds into acute injuries.

Six hours north of Reykjavik, along a narrow road tracing windswept fjords, is the Icelandic town of Isafjordur, home of 3,000 people and the midnight sun. On a blustery May afternoon, snow still fills the couloirs that loom over the docks, where the Pall Palsson, a 583-ton trawler, has just returned from a three-day trip. Below the rust-spotted deck, neat boxes are packed with freshly caught fish and ice. “If you take all the skins from that trawler,” says Fertram Sigurjonsson, the chairman and chief executive officer of Kerecis Ltd., gesturing over the catch, “we would be able to treat one in five wounds in the world.” (more…)

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Severe Burn Victims May Soon Be Able to Regrow Hair-Bearing Skin

Regenerates Full-Thickness Hair-Bearing Skin in Burns and Wounds

PolarityTE (TM) Regenerates Full-Thickness Hair-Bearing Skin in Burns and Wounds Using Their Revolutionary Platform Technology. First ever known successful regeneration of full-thickness skin and hair; Company poised to initiate human trial in the third quarter of 2017; Management to host conference call Thursday, June 8th at 4:30pm ET.

Salt Lake City, UT — (Marketwired) — 06/08/17 — PolarityTE™, Inc. (NASDAQ: COOL) today announced pre-clinical results demonstrating that the Company’s lead product, SkinTE™, regenerated full-thickness, organized skin and hair follicles in third degree burn wounds. The findings represent the first known successful regeneration of skin and hair in full-thickness swine wound models, the standard animal model for human skin. The Company expects to initiate a human clinical trial evaluating the autologous homologous SkinTE™ construct in the third quarter of 2017. (more…)

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Caring for Wounds eBook Series: Pressure Injuries

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Accurate and considered wound assessment is essential to fulfill professional nursing requirements and ensure appropriate patient and wound management.

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Clinical Notes: Moldable Skin Barrier, hypoglycemia, diabetic food ulcers

Moldable skin barrier effective for elderly patients with ostomy

A study in Gastroenterology Nursing reports that compared to a conventional skin barrier, a moldable skin barrier significantly improves self-care satisfaction scores in elderly patients who have a stoma. The moldable skin barrier also caused less irritant dermatitis and the costs for leakage-proof cream were lower.

The application of a moldable skin barrier in the self-care of elderly ostomy patients” included 104 patients ages 65 to 79 who had a colostomy because of colorectal cancer.

Risk factors for severe hypoglycemia in older adults with diabetes identified


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No more skin tears

Imagine watching your skin tear, bleed, and turn purple. Imagine, too, the pain and disfigurement you’d feel.

What if you had to live through this experience repeatedly? That’s what many elderly people go through, suffering with skin tears through no fault of their own. Some go on to develop complications.

A skin tear is a traumatic wound caused by shear, friction, or blunt-force trauma that results in a partial- or full-thickness injury. Skin tears are painful because the precipitating injury commonly involves the dermis, which is rich with nerve endings. (more…)

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Understanding peristomal skin complications

By Rosalyn Jordan, RN, BSN, MSc, CWOCN, WCC, and Marci Christian, BBE

Any patient with a fecal or urinary ostomy may experience complications on the skin surface around the stoma. These complications may occur lifelong, although they’re more common during the first 5 years after the initial ostomy surgery. Causative factors include infection, trauma, certain diseases, and chemical irritation; most of these problems stem from the pouching system or pouch leakage.

Peristomal skin complications can cause a wide range of signs and symptoms, from skin discoloration to polyp-like growths, from erythema to full-thickness wounds. They can lead to discomfort, pain, poor self-image, social isolation, and impaired quality of life, not to mention additional care costs.

Incidence and types of these complications are hard to compare or contrast across multiple patients. Until recently, no standardized assessment or documentation tools were available to characterize or define complications. For this reason, reported rates ranged widely, from 10% to 70%. And because no designated common language or categories related to peristomal skin complications existed, documentation was inconsistent.

Download “How to Use” education program for the Ostomy Skin Tool

Ostomy Skin Tool

In the late 2000s, a group of nurses experienced in caring for ostomy patients worked with the World Council of Enterostomal Therapists to develop a resource called the Ostomy Skin Tool, which clinicians can use to categorize and describe peristomal skin complications in a consistent, objective manner. The tool also provides a common language for documentation.

The Ostomy Skin Tool has three major assessment domains—discoloration (D), erosion/ulceration (E), and tissue overgrowth (T), known collectively as DET. The DET combined rating ranges from normal, rated 0, to the worst condition possible, rated 15. Mild DET complications are documented as less than 4, moderate as less than 7, and severe as 8 or higher. (See Using the Ostomy Skin Tool by clicking the PDF icon above.)

The tool describes four categories of peristomal complications:
• chemical irritation
• mechanical trauma
• disease-related complications
• infection-related complications.

Chemical irritation

Chemical irritation can stem from irritants (as in contact dermatitis) or allergic reactions (allergic dermatitis). The most likely cause of chemical dermatitis is effluent leakage (feces or urine) from the colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy, in which effluent comes in contact with peristomal skin. Other potential causes include contact with soap, certain adhesives, and adhesive removers.

The major treatment of chemical irritation is identification and removal of the offending agent, followed by patient and caregiver education on the new pouching procedure the patient must use. Follow-up assessment also is recommended. In a 2010 study that followed 89 patients for 1 year after ostomy surgery, about 50% of subjects experienced peristomal skin complications, most of them from pouch leakage. Another investigator estimated that 85% of ostomy patients experience pouch leakage at some time during their lives. Pouch leakage usually occurs when stool is extremely liquid (for instance, ileostomy effluent). Other causes of pouch leakage include wearing a pouch more than half full of effluent and abdominal contours that aren’t level. Besides changes in the pouching system, treatment may entail adding products to the pouching system or removing certain agents.

Some patients experience allergic dermatitis in reaction to products used in the pouching system (such as skin barriers, belts, pouch closures, or adhesives). However, allergic dermatitis is rare. One 2010 study suggested allergic reactions to these products occur in only about 0.6% of patients with peristomal skin irritation. Most major ostomy product manufacturers provide a patch test on request to help identify allergic conditions. Once the offending product is discontinued, allergic dermatitis should resolve rapidly.

Mechanical trauma

Mechanical trauma usually results from either the pouching system itself or its removal. It also may result from harsh or multiple skin-barrier removals, pressure from convex rings or pouches, and abrasive cleansing techniques. Some researchers believe the stronger the adhesive barrier and the more often a pouch is changed, the greater the risk of epidermal damage.

Mechanical trauma may present as a partial-thickness ulcer caused by pressure, shear, friction, tearing, or skin stripping. Patients with fragile skin are susceptible to mechanical trauma, so less aggressive pouching systems may be preferred for them. Of course, if the pouching system is changed, the patient or caregiver needs to learn about the new system.

Disease-related complications

Disease-related peristomal complications may be linked to preexisting skin conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema (atopic dermatitis), or seborrheic dermatitis. Hyperplasia also may occur. This overgrowth of cells, which may appear as gray or reddish brown pseudoverrucous lesions, usually is linked to urinary ostomies, although it can occur with fecal ostomies as well. Vinegar soaks are the recommended treatment, in addition to a change in the pouching system and corresponding patient education.

Occasionally, other disease-related complications occur, including primary adenocarcinoma of the peristomal skin and peristomal pyoderma gangrenosum, a painful and problematic condition that presents as peristomal ulcers. Ulcer borders are well-defined with a bluish purple coloration at the edges. Infection must be ruled out, as this condition usually is linked to an autoimmune condition. Treatment includes pain management and, in most cases, a topical corticosteroid. Crohn’s disease also may manifest as a peristomal skin ulcer.

Infection-related complications

Infection-related complications may be bacterial or fungal. Two common peristomal skin infections are folliculitis and Candida fungal infections. An infection of the hair follicle that causes pustules, folliculitis usually stems from traumatic hair pulling in the peristomal area during pouch removal. It may warrant a prescribed antibiotic, along with patient teaching regarding proper hair removal using an electric razor.

Candida infections may arise because peristomal skin provides a warm, dark, moist environment that promotes fungal growth. These infections appear as erythema with pustules or papules and satellite lesions. Treatment usually involves antifungal powder and use of the crusting technique to secure the pouching system. (See Using the crusting technique by clicking the PDF icon above.)


Many complications are well advanced by the time patients seek assistance, perhaps because they don’t understand the significance of their symptoms and think they can manage the problem themselves. In some cases, they don’t know where to turn for assistance. Commonly, the complication progresses to the point where the patient goes to the emergency department or (particularly during the immediate postoperative period) needs to be readmitted for treatment. The best way to manage peristomal skin complications is to prevent them in the first place. (See Preventing peristomal skin complications by clicking the PDF icon above.)

Patient education

Over the past 20 years, hospital stays for ostomy surgery patients have decreased from about 2 weeks to less than 5 days. Reduced stays decrease the time available for caregivers to teach patients and family members how to empty and change the pouch. They need alternative education covering (among other topics) how to recognize peristomal skin complications and when to seek help. Not only do these complications require vigilant self-observation, but many patients don’t understand their implications or how rapidly they can worsen. In some cases, the first symptoms are itching and redness under the skin barrier. Fortunately, some patients may know or remember that itching, burning, stinging, reddened, or weeping peristomal skin requires professional attention. They can avoid serious complications by seeking assistance early, such as right after noticing pouch leakage.

Early treatment can reduce the cost of treatment. In a 2012 study, researchers estimated care costs related to peristomal skin complications for a 7-week treatment period, using the Ostomy Skin Tool as a reference. Severe complications (those with a DET score above 8) cost six times more to treat than mild cases (those with a DET score below 4) and 4.5 times more than moderate cases.

Along with early intervention by a trained ostomy care specialist, self-assessment by ostomy patients promotes a better quality of life, reduces pain, and may decrease care costs. Clinicians’ use of the Ostomy Skin Tool to assess and document peristomal skin complications promotes more reliable, objective, comparable assessment data for reporting.

Selected references
Al-Niaimi F, Lyon CC. Primary adenocarcinoma in peristomal skin: a case study. Ostomy Wound Manage. 2010;56(1):45-7.

Burch J. Management of stoma complications. Nurs Times. 2011;107(45):17-8, 20.

Jemec GB, Martins L, Claessens I, et al. Assessing peristomal skin changes in ostomy patients: validation of the Ostomy Skin Tool. Br J Dermatol. 2011; 164;330-5.

Jones T, Springfield T, Brudwick M, Ladd A. Fecal ostomies: practical management for the home health clinician. Home Healthc Nurse. 2011;29(5):306-17.

Martins L, Samai O, Fernandez A, et al. Maintaining healthy skin around an ostomy: peristomal skin disorders and self-assessment. Gastrointest Nurs. 2011;

Martins L, Tavernelli K, Serrano JLC. Introducing a peristomal skin assessment tool: The Ostomy Skin Tool. World Council Enterostomal Therapists J. 2008;28(2):3-13.

Meisner S, Lehur P, Moran B, et al. Peristomal skin complications are common, expensive, and difficult to manage: a population based cost modeling study. PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e37813.

Nybaek H, Jemec GB. Skin problems in stoma patients. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2010;24(3):249-57.

Omura Y, Yamabe M, Anazawa S. Peristomal skin disorders in patients with intestinal and urinary ostomies: influence of adhesive forces of various hydrocolloid wafer skin barriers. J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs. 2010;37(3):289-98.

Ratliff CR. Early peristomal skin complications reported by WOC nurses. J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs. 2010;37(5):505-10.

Shabbir J, Britton DC. Stomal complications: a literature overview. Colorectal Dis. 2010;12(10):958- 64.

Wound, Ostomy, Continence Clinical Practice Ostomy Subcommittee. Peristomal skin complications: Best practice for clinicians. Mt. Laurel, NJ; 2007.

The authors work for RecoverCare, LLC, in Louisville, Kentucky. Rosalyn Jordan is director of clinical education and Marci Christian is a clinical associate product specialist.

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How to benefit from electrical stimulation for the treatment of chronic wounds

Electrical Stimulation Therapy

One of the most amazing things about the human body is its ability to repair itself. Lacerations, punctures, abrasions all heal with little or no care. Chronic wounds, those that persist day after day, are a small subset of wounds but they compose a troublesome minority. They include, but are not limited to, diabetic foot ulcers (DFU), venous leg ulcers (VLU), and pressure ulcers (colloquially known as bedsores). These represent the body’s failure to fix itself. (more…)

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Atrium Medical Center division earns award for clinical excellence

atrium wound care division

MIDDLETOWNThe Wound Care Center and Hyperbaric Services at Atrium Medical Center recently was recognized with a national award for clinical excellence.

The Center of Distinction Award was presented by Healogics, the nation’s leading and largest wound care management company. The center was also honored with the Healogics President’s Circle Award.

The awards recognize outstanding clinical outcomes for 12 consecutive months, including patient satisfaction higher than 92 percent, and a wound healing rate of at least 91 percent in less than 31 median days. (more…)

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