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Skin tears in mammography: A narrative review

Khan, Adeela; Pradeep, Sheba; Wynn, Matthew; Szczepura, Katy; Mercer, Claire; Stephens, Melanie


Adeela Khan

Sheba Pradeep


Skin tears are classed as traumatic wounds mainly caused by shearing and frictional forces. Incidences of skin tears are noted to be significant mostly in the elderly population and those with fragile and vulnerable skin. Individuals undergoing mammography are susceptible to skin tears due to factors associated with skin breakdown such as thinning of the epidermis, use of steroids, presence of moisture, but this, when compounded with the procedure of mammography can increase the risk further.

Mammography, an x-ray imaging method, which exerts adequate compression force on the breast tissue for the mammographer to obtain a high-quality image for diagnostic purposes. However, when compression force is applied during mammography resulting incidences of cutaneous skin tears can occur.

Lack of and under reporting of skin tears during mammography makes it difficult to ascertain the extent of this problem and scale of its incidence. Therefore, the purpose of this narrative review is to focus on providing an overview of skin tears associated with mammography and a discussion of the current literature with regards to its incidence and diagnosis. In addition, the review will also discuss the theoretical and contextual perspective of the prevention and management strategies associated with skin tears.


Khan, A., Pradeep, S., Wynn, M., Szczepura, K., Mercer, C., & Stephens, M. (2023). Skin tears in mammography: A narrative review. Journal of Tissue Viability, 32(4), 577-584.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 24, 2023
Online Publication Date Sep 29, 2023
Publication Date 2023-11
Deposit Date Apr 2, 2024
Journal Journal of Tissue Viability
Print ISSN 0965-206X
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 32
Issue 4
Pages 577-584