# Wound Measurement

1. I have very little experience with wound care. I have been taking care of more patients with wounds/decubs and I have a few questions.
1. When you measure a wound, do you use centimeters? I am assuming this because of observing other nurses.
2. When measuring, tell me, do you do length x width or how is a wound measured? Some wounds have appeared "weird" to me and I was unsure on how to determine what the length was or what the width was?? I thought it was just measured by it's diameter and if deep enough, it's depth. I guess I need some general information on would measurement.

As you can see... I have no experience what so ever and lost! Thanks for your help in advance! I work in a place that does not help newer nurses.
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Joined: Mar '06; Posts: 4

3. Quote from BoyNurse07
I have very little experience with wound care. I have been taking care of more patients with wounds/decubs and I have a few questions.
1. When you measure a wound, do you use centimeters? I am assuming this because of observing other nurses.
2. When measuring, tell me, do you do length x width or how is a wound measured? Some wounds have appeared "weird" to me and I was unsure on how to determine what the length was or what the width was?? I thought it was just measured by it's diameter and if deep enough, it's depth. I guess I need some general information on would measurement.

As you can see... I have no experience what so ever and lost! Thanks for your help in advance! I work in a place that does not help newer nurses.
Good morning Boynurse07. You should measure in centimeters. Measure length first at the longest section then width at the widest section then depth at the deepest section. To measure depth gently insert a cotton swab and were your fingers meet the edge of the wound measure that area on the cotton swab. If depth can't be measured but the wound is open then mark it as <0.1 cm. This tells the next person measuring that is is superficial. To check for tunneling take the cotton swab and gently run it along the inside of the wound edge, if tunneling is found measure like you did the depth. So your wound measurement should look like this 3.9 cm x 2.1 cm x < 0.1 cm. Hope this helps.
4. Thank you VERY MUCH BIRD 2. I really appreciate it. I knew the basics, but having it explained to me again helps! Again, thanks!!!!
5. Quote from Bird2
Good morning Boynurse07. You should measure in centimeters. Measure length first at the longest section then width at the widest section then depth at the deepest section. To measure depth gently insert a cotton swab and were your fingers meet the edge of the wound measure that area on the cotton swab. If depth can't be measured but the wound is open then mark it as <0.1 cm. This tells the next person measuring that is is superficial. To check for tunneling take the cotton swab and gently run it along the inside of the wound edge, if tunneling is found measure like you did the depth. So your wound measurement should look like this 3.9 cm x 2.1 cm x < 0.1 cm. Hope this helps.
I do the same thing, Bird2. And never forget......if there is more than one "tunnel", identify the tunnel at the clock position ie: 10, 2....
6. Quote from Bird2
Good morning Boynurse07. You should measure in centimeters. Measure length first at the longest section then width at the widest section then depth at the deepest section. To measure depth gently insert a cotton swab and were your fingers meet the edge of the wound measure that area on the cotton swab. If depth can't be measured but the wound is open then mark it as <0.1 cm. This tells the next person measuring that is is superficial. To check for tunneling take the cotton swab and gently run it along the inside of the wound edge, if tunneling is found measure like you did the depth. So your wound measurement should look like this 3.9 cm x 2.1 cm x < 0.1 cm. Hope this helps.
Sorry when measuring wounds one would think of the antitomical positon as in anatomy length is from the standing position and width is cross ways the body as if measuring from shoulder to shoulder
7. Quote from nuresnia
Sorry when measuring wounds one would think of the antitomical positon as in anatomy length is from the standing position and width is cross ways the body as if measuring from shoulder to shoulder
Nice way to explain that. I omitted that part but I usually think of length and width as looking at a clock. I like your way better. Thanks.
8. Another measurement that is sometimes useful is using clear acetate (like the ones you use for presentations) and drawing round the edge of the actual wound if it is superficial. You place the acetate over the wound and then use a permanent marker on the acetate. You can repeat this at regular intervals to measure the change in size and / or shape. This is sometimes useful to measure sizes of dressing too.
9. When measuring always use centimeters. We have plastic films that we use to measure wounds. length of the wound is measured from head to toes of person or using clock method between 12 and 6. width is side to side or on clock between 9 and 3. hope this helps
10. If you take pictures of the wounds for documentation anyway, you can place an object next to the wound which you know the size of for calibration. If you have a computer with windows running on it you may download our free measurement software KLONK Image Measurement Light and measure the area of the wounds precisely. Remember to take the pictures in as a perpendicular angle as possible. The measurements are saved in the image, so that you can send the Image to other people who has the KLONK Image Measurement Light tool.