Ask the treatment expert: discussing classifications of skin tears

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Ask the treatment expert
Ask the treatment expert
I recently saw documentation that referred to a category 2b skin tear. What does this mean?

In the late 1980s, the Payne-Martin Classification System for Skin Tears was developed to provide a common language for severity of skin tears. The classification defines a skin tear as a traumatic wound occurring primarily on the extremities of older adults as a result of friction alone or shearing and friction forces that separate the epidermis from the dermis, or that separate both the epidermis and the dermis from underlying structures. The classification categories are: 

Category I – Skin tears without tissue loss.

Linear skin tear – Full-thickness wound that occurs in wrinkle or furrow of skin.  Both epidermis and dermis are pulled apart, exposing tissue below.

Flap-type skin tear – Partial-thickness wound. The epidermal flap can be approximated so that not more than one millimeter of dermis is exposed.

Category II – Skin tears with partial tissue loss.

Scant tissue loss – Partial-thickness wound in which 25% or less of the epidermal flap is lost and at least 75% or more of the dermis is covered by the flap.

Moderate to large tissue loss – Partial thickness wound. More than 25% of the epidermal flap is lost; more than 25% of the dermis is exposed.

Category III
– Skin tears with complete tissue loss. A partial thickness wound; epidermal flap is absent.