When someone has a wound with little or no exudate, a transparent film dressing may be the best option.

Advanced Tissue offers a wide variety of traditional wound care products to help you properly and speedily recover from an ulcer, cut or abrasion. Many people are familiar with gauze and tape, but another highly effective, yet lesser-known, solution is the transparent film dressing. Learn more about this option so you can be an informed patient when discussing a wound care plan with your clinician.

What is a transparent film dressing?

A transparent film dressing is a thin sheet of see-through material – generally polyurethane – available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to conform to different wounds. It’s typically used to protect the skin in pressure spots, acting as a second skin. These dressings are transparent so that you can see the wound – its healing progress and any drainage – and keep the affected area moist for optimal healing. It’s generally recommended by clinicians when:

  • there is little or no drainage
  • dead tissue requires debridement
  • another dressing requires securing to the skin

These dressings may also be used during in-patient visits to secure and protect catheters. They’re also utilized to protect gauze covering wounds that have low amounts of exudate.

Benefits of transparent film dressings

In addition to providing a moist environment to aid in the wound healing process, transparent film dressings have several other benefits. Since they’re flexible, they can conform to wounds in difficult-to-apply areas of the body. They’re also impermeable to bacteria and contaminants, and though they’re waterproof, excess moisture vapor and carbon dioxide are able to escape via a one-way passage. Additionally, the waterproof quality means they don’t have to be removed while bathing or showering.

Precautions to consider

While transparent film dressings offer plenty of benefits, there are occasions when they should not be used. For example, because wetness deactivates the adhesive, it won’t adhere to moist skin. Additionally, since these types of products can last for several days without needing replacement, they should not be used on wounds that require frequent dressing changes. Your clinician may also suggest that you avoid these wound care products if:

  • your wound has moderate or heavy exudate
  • there is an active or suspected bacterial or fungal infection
  • the affected area has a third-degree burn
  • the skin is fragile or thin, as removal can cause tearing or epidermal stripping
  • affected area is at risk of peri-wound maceration

Stop using Transparent film dressings if a rash develops around the wound site, and you should contact a clinician to determine the next step in your wound care plan.

Information about using transparent film dressings

When applying this product, it should be smoothed out and large enough that there is at least a 1-inch border surrounding the wound. Some clinicians may suggest a minimal 2-inch border depending on the severity of the wound. When removing, it should be lifted slowly and carefully from the edges toward the center to avoid epidermal stripping.

On average, these dressings require changing every three to five days, though they may be left on for as many as seven days if there isn’t excessive exudate. They should be changed immediately if there’s skin irritation, leakage or loosening of the film, or if it begins to roll up at the corners. Afterward, check with a clinician to determine if the transparent film dressing is still the right option.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients, delivering to both homes and long-term care facilities.