What are the 3 types of skin tears? ISTAP classification tool
Skin tears are traumatic wounds that occur when fragile skin experiences friction, shearing or blunt force. A skin tear is defined as the separation of different layers of the skin (the dermis and the epidermis).
Although the data is limited, skin tears are known to be extremely common in the elderly population. Despite being common, they are often misidentified and mismanaged, which can often lead to increased pain, infection, and delayed wound healing.
As skin tears can vary in severity, proper identification is crucial for determining the appropriate treatment and ensuring better patient outcomes.
ISTAP (International Skin Tear Advisory Panel) provides a standardised, validated, and simple classification tool that can be used to identify the three most common types of skin tears. ISTAP’s tool categorises the types of skin tear based on the severity of the flap.
According to ISTAP, the flap is the portion of the skin that is unintentionally separated from its original place due to impact.
Once the type of skin tear is identified, the proper treatment must begin as soon as possible to minimise the risk of the wound bed becoming larger or infected.