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Daily Archives: September 21, 2005

How does spinal cord injury affect the skin?

Published: September 21, 2005

Spinal cord injury reduces or eliminates skin sensation in dermatomes below the injury site. Because people cannot feel or move, they may sit or lie for long times on certain parts of their body. Pressure impedes blood flow in the skin. Due to muscle atrophy, the normal tissue padding that cushions the butt may be reduced. Absence of sensation, loss of muscle padding, and long periods of pressure can lead to skin breakdown and development of pressure sores or decubiti. Decubiti are potentially life threatening but preventable.