Weight-bearing-induced changes in the microtopography and structural stiffness of human skin in vivo following immobility periods

Gabor Dobos, Amit Gefen, Ulrike Blume-Peytavi, Jan Kottner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Pressure ulcers (PUs) are injuries to the skin and underlying tissues, caused by sustained deformations and occur frequently in aged patients. Skin microtopography and stiffness affect the interaction of skin with contact surfaces contributing to PU development. We simulated immobility in 20 healthy females (mean age 69.9 years). Skin microtopography and stiffness were measured at the PU predilection sites before and after loading. Skin roughness decreased at the heels by 18.1% after 90 minutes (p = 0.022), but remained unchanged at the sacrum and the upper back. Structural elasticity and elastic deformations increased at all skin areas; changes over time were significant at the sacrum (p = 0.005) and the heel, (p = 0.002). The residual skin deformation increased at all skin areas after loading significantly at the sacrum (32.0%, p = 0.013) and upper back (20.6%, p = 0.007). The structural "biological" elasticity of the skin decreased significantly at the upper back after loading, but remained unchanged at the heels. All skin changes recovered after unloading. Results indicate that prolonged loading causes structural skin changes in humans in vivo in PU predilection sites. The pathogenesis of PUs is different at the heels, the sacral and upper back skin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalWound Repair and Regeneration
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

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