Tunneling Wounds

WoundSource Editors's picture
tunneling wound assessment

Perhaps the most difficult type of wound for health care professionals to treat is a tunneling wound. Tunneling wounds are named for the channels which extend from the wound, into or through subcutaneous tissue or muscle. These tunnels sometimes take twists or turns that can make wound care complicated. Tunneling is often the result of infection, previous abscess formation, sedentary lifestyle, previous surgery at the site, trauma to the wound or surrounding tissue, or the impact of pressure and shear forces upon many tissue layers causing a “sinkhole-like” defect on the skin.

Laurie Swezey's picture
Tunneling Wound

by Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS

As part of a thorough wound assessment, in addition to noting location and measuring size, the entire wound bed should be probed for the presence of tunneling and/or undermining. If you are unsure what tunneling and undermining are and how to recognize these phenomena, here's an explanation of these terms and how to assess wounds for their presence.

Blog Category: 
Laurie Swezey's picture

by Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS

The measurement of a wound, and the plotting of its size over time, is the only estimate that can be used to accurately predict wound healing. This includes such variables as wound exudate, the presence of necrotic tissue, slough and granulation tissue, as well as undermining and tunneling.

Blog Category: