ComplicationsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Complications of pressure ulcers include:
- Sepsis. Sepsis occurs when bacteria enters your bloodstream through the broken skin and spreads throughout your body — a rapidly progressing, life-threatening condition that can cause organ failure.
- Cellulitis. This acute infection of your skin's connective tissue causes pain, redness and swelling, all of which can be severe. Cellulitis can also lead to life-threatening complications, including sepsis and meningitis — an infection of the membrane and fluid surrounding your brain and spinal cord.
- Bone and joint infections. These develop when the infection from a pressure sore burrows deep into your joints and bones. Joint infections (septic or infectious arthritis) can damage cartilage and tissue, and bone infections (osteomyelitis) may reduce the function of your joints and limbs.
- Cancer. Another complication is the development of a type of squamous cell carcinoma that develops in chronic, nonhealing wounds (Marjolin ulcer). This type of cancer is aggressive and usually requires surgical treatment.
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