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Medical Adhesive-Related Skin Injury (MARSI) refers to the red irritated skin that often occurs when medical adhesives are removed. It occurs across all care settings and age groups, and can be a serious complication. However, it’s by no means an inevitable outcome of patient care.

Explore these informational MARSI videos

What Are the Different Types of MARSI?

  • An image showing allergic contact dermatitis on an arm.
    Allergic Contact Dermatitis

    Rare, cell-mediated immunologic response to adhesive or backing; typically appears as an area of erythematous, vesicular, pruritic dermatitis; persists for up to a week

    Dec 1, 1901
  • An image showing maceration on a heal of a foot.

    Softening and breaking down of the skin resulting from prolonged exposure to moisture; increases susceptibility to damage; skin appears wrinkled and white/gray in color 

    Dec 1, 1901
  • An image of irritant contact dermatitis on a leg.
    Irritant Contact Dermatitis

    Reaction ranging from erythema and scaling to necrotic burns from non-immunologic damage caused by chemicals in contact with the skin; may appear reddened and swollen

    Dec 1, 1901
  • An image of skin stripping on a face.
    Skin Stripping

    Removal of one or more layers of the stratum corneum following removal of medical adhesive; stripped skin may appear shiny

    Dec 1, 1901
  • An image of a tension injury on a leg.
    Tension Injury

    Separation of the epidermis from the dermis as a result of distension of skin under an unyielding adhesive; blisters often develop at the edge of the adhesive

    Dec 1, 1901
  • An image of folliculitis on a body.

    In flammatory reaction in hair follicle caused by shaving or entrapment of bacteria; appears as small, inflamed elevations of skin surrounding hair follicle 

    Dec 1, 1901
  • An image of a skin tear on a knee.
    Skin Tear

    Wound caused by shear, friction and/or blunt force resulting in separation of skin layers; can be partial- or full-thickness

    Dec 1, 1901

Help Reduce the Risk of MARSI

  • MARSI often occurs through improper selection, application or removal of medical adhesives, causing unnecessary pain, compromising skin integrity, and increasing the risk of infection. You can help reduce the risk of MARSI by following these basic steps:

    1. Select the appropriate adhesive product
    2. Properly prepare the skin
    3. Apply the adhesive product using the appropriate techniques
    4. Remove the adhesive product using the proper techniques
    Earn CE Credit and Learn More about Patient Safety and the Role of Medical Adhesives
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