Facing the global challenge of Post-Operative Blistering

Introduction to post-operative blistering

Mölnlycke Health Care recognises the challenges faced by healthcare practitioners in treating and preventing post operative blisters. The information contained within this post operative blister section is designed to help you develop your knowledge on post operative blistering and also share with you some of the solutions that Mölnlycke Health Care offers to help you treat and prevent post operative blisters within your patient population

Preventing post operative blistering

Preventing post operative blistering is a multi faceted issue which includes - correct dressing choice - correct application procedures - limiting removal episodes ...

Demands on a surgical dressing

Surgical dressings can play an important role in the progression of the surgical wound, providing a optimal environment to promote healing but also in terms of pain management. The surgical dressing...

Preventing SSIs

Dressing changes and skin damage increase the risk of infection. Up to 41 percent of orthopaedic patients suffer from post-operative blistering...

Supporting patient mobility

To help reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), patients should be mobilized as soon as possible. Up to 84 percent of knee replacement patients are at risk of DVT...

Managing costs

Complications from surgery drive up healthcare costs. There is a EUR 6.432 average increase in healthcare costs if a patient acquires an SSI...

About Post Operative Blistering

Skin blistering is defined as when the epidermis is separated from the dermis resulting in finger like projections of epidermal tissue that hold the epidermis and dermis together weakening allowing the two layers to separate1.

The Extent of the Issue
Prevalence is becoming increasingly documented in the literature with a particularly high prevalence identified in orthopaedic departments especially those having undergone hip and knee arthroplasty:

  • 13-35 percent prevalence in post operative orthopedic patients1-7


Prevalence is also reported in patients undergoing other surgical procedures such as:

  • Caesarean Section
  • Cardiothoracic
  • Abdominal surgery such as hysterectomy


Clinical Consequences of Post Operative Blistering
Skin blistering may8

  • Predispose the wound to an increased risk of SSI - leading to deeper infection and prosthesis sepsis
  • Delay healing
  • Lead to further surgical interventions
  • Increase patient pain
  • Reduce patient quality of life
  • Result in dissatisfied patients


Financial Consequences of Blistering
Skin blistering may:

  • Lead to further surgical interventions
  • Lead to prolonged hospital stay
  • Result in additional dressing changes
  • Increase caregiver time
  • Increase analgesic requirements



  1. Postoperative wound blistering - Is there a link with dressing usage? WC vol 11 nu 7; S.K. Gupta et al, 2002.
  2. Eliminating Blister Formation in Post-operative Orthopedic Patients. Eliminating blister formation in post-operative adult orthopedic patients | CPIP Project Batch 18 | Copyright © 2008 National University Health System. Margaret Lee, 2008
  3. Prospective, randomised, controlled trial comparing wound dressings used in hip and knee surgery: Aquacel and Tegaderm versus Cultiplast. Ann R Coll Surg Engl 2006; 88: 1, 18-22. M.J. Ravenscroft et al, 2006
  4. Wound blisters post hip surgery: a Prospective trial comparing dressings. ANZ J Surg 2002, 72(10): 716–19. N. Lawrentschuk et al, 2002
  5. A one hospital study of the effect of wound dressings and other related factors on skin blistering following total hip and knee arthroplasty. J Orthopaedic Nurs 2000; 4: 2, 71-77. R. Jester, et al, 2000
  6. Choice of dressing has a major impact on blistering and healing outcomes in orthopaedic patients. J Wound Care 2005; 14: 1, 27-29. T. Cosker et al. 2005
  7. Addressing Post Surgical Wound Blistering. Poster Presentation at TVS Congress, UK. Sutton J et al 2011
  8. An investigation into the prevention of blistering in post-operative wounds. Poster presentation at the EWMA conference, Brussels, Belgium. K Ousey et al, 2011
  9. Preventing maceration with a soft silicone dressing: in-vitro evaluations. Poster presentation at the 3rd Congress of the WUWHS, Toronto, Canada, 2008: Wiberg AB et al.
  10. Price, P. et al. Dressing Related Pain in Patients with Chronic Wounds; an International Patient Perspective. International Wound Journal, 2008
  11. Price, P. et al. Managing painful chronic wounds: the Wound Pain Management Model. International Wound Journal, 2007
  12. White R. Evidence for atraumatic soft silicone wound dressing use. Wounds UK; 2005
  13. White R. A Multinational survey of the assessment of pain when removing dressings. Wounds UK, 2008
  14. White R. Evidence for atraumatic soft silicone wound dressing use. Wounds UK, 2005.
  15. Dykes PJ et al. Effects of adhesive dressings on the stratum corneum of the skin. Journal of Wound Care 2001
  16. Effect of dressing choice on outcomes after hip and knee arthroplasty: a literature review. J Wound Care  2009 Nov;18(11):449-50. Tustanowski J. 2009
  17. An assessment of a self-adherent, soft silicone dressing in post-operative wound care following hip and knee arthroplasty: Poster presentation at the EWMA conference Brussels, Belgium: Catharina Johansson et al; 2011
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