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Stage 2 pressure injury - Pressure Ulcer Staging
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Stage 2 pressure injury - Pressure Ulcer Staging

Contributors: Ansa Ahmed MD, Sally-Ann Whelan MS, NP, CWOCN, Lisa Wallin ANP, FCCWS, Art Papier MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


In stage 2 pressure injuries, there is partial thickness skin damage with loss of the epidermis and some of the dermis. The wound appears as a shallow, open ulcer or a superficial erosion with a wound bed that is red-pink in color. Stage 2 pressure injuries may also present as a serum-filled blister. No slough or necrotic tissue is present in the base.

Typical sites of stage 2 pressure injury formation are the sacrum followed by the heels. Constant pressure for a time period of 2 hours is all that is required to initiate an ischemic event and to cause ulceration. Risk factors that predispose to ulcer formation include immobility, incontinence, old age, nutritional deficits, and altered mental faculties.

The pressure injury (stage and location according to ICD codes) should be documented, and a risk assessment scale should be carried out using the Braden scale.

When examining the ulcer, observe the following:
  • Location on the body
  • Staging of the ulcer
  • Size of the ulcer, which should include depth, width, and the length in centimeters
  • Wound bed – Appearance of the wound bed and the type of tissue visible. Observe the tissue color and whether it appears moist. The wound bed color of healthy granulating tissue is beefy red and cobblestone like. A red and smooth wound bed is indicative of clean but nongranulating tissue.
  • Wound edges – Look carefully at the edge of the ulcer for evidence of induration, maceration, rolling edges, redness.
  • Skin around the edges of the ulcer – The periwound skin should be assessed for color, texture, temperature, and integrity of the surrounding skin.
  • Drainage; exudate – If present, the color, amount, and presence of any odor.
  • Presence or absence of pain
  • Odor, if present or absent
The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel 2016 updated staging system also includes the following:
  • Medical device-related pressure injury (describes an etiology) – Results from the use of devices designed and applied for therapeutic purposes. Injury generally conforms to the pattern or shape of the device. Stage using the staging system.
  • Mucosal membrane pressure injury – Found on mucous membranes with a history of a medical device in use at the location of the injury. Cannot be staged due to anatomy of tissue.
Related topic: Pressure Injury (overview)


L89.92 – Pressure ulcer of unspecified site, stage 2

1163220007 – Pressure injury stage II

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Last Updated:07/13/2016
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Stage 2 pressure injury - Pressure Ulcer Staging
A medical illustration showing key findings of Stage 2 pressure injury : Buttocks, Heel, Nursing home resident, Occipital scalp, Sacral region of back, Skin erosion, Skin ulcer, Bedridden patient
Clinical image of Stage 2 pressure injury - imageId=86407. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'A close-up of a shallow ulcer with an adjacent small, scaly, pink plaque.'
A close-up of a shallow ulcer with an adjacent small, scaly, pink plaque.
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