Hydrocolloid dressings are most appropriate for non-infected wounds and adhere to moist and dry sites.

Hydrocolloid dressings have an active surface treated with a gel-forming substance consisting of pectin, carboxy-methylcellulose, polymers and other adhesives. They are an opaque, flexible, wafer that adheres to the skin. When in contact with wound exudate, the polymers absorb the fluid and swell, forming a gel which is confined within the structure of the material.

Hydrocolloid dressings may vary in structure, elasticity and fluid retention depending upon the manufacturer. One characteristic that makes them preferable is their ability to adhere to both moist and dry sites. Hydrocolloid dressings are most appropriate for non-infected wounds with low to moderate discharge, necrotic or granular wounds. The benefits of hydrocolloid dressings are numerous.

Minimal Disruption to Healing

Hydrocolloid dressings do not need to be changed as often as other types of wound dressings. New dressing only needs to be applied every 3-7 days, which leaves the wound undisturbed longer. This also makes the hydrocolloid dressings more cost effective, not only in terms of materials, but by reducing the cost of service provided by a health care professional. Hydrocolloid dressings also reduce pain and promote faster healing. When compared to paraffin gauze to dress skin graft donor sites, hydrocolloid dressings may result in less pain and faster healing. A study of patients with lacerations and shallow surgical incisions found patients who used hydrocolloid dressings required less analgesia to perform daily activities.

Impermeable to Bacteria

Hydrocolloid dressings significantly lower the risk of infection because they are impermeable to bacteria. Most are water proof, allowing patients to proceed with normal bathing. An 8-week study was performed on bacteria found in venous ulcers to which occlusive hydrocolloid dressing was applied. The study found that the level of bacteria was generally stable. Most species that were observed remained, apart from pseudomonas which appeared to be repressed by the hydrocolloid dressing. Bacteria were found present in 12 of the 20 ulcers examined, but there was no evidence that any species deterred healing.

Adheres Only to Intact Skin

Hydrocolloid dressings do not adhere to the wound, only to the skin surrounding it. This helps keep newly healed skin intact. Moisture is generated beneath the dressing to promote healing and prevent break down of tissue. In addition, hydrocolloid dressings do not traumatize the skin upon being removed. They are also available in contoured shapes to form with specific body parts.

Simple to Apply

Applying hydrocolloid dressing to a wound is simple. Before applying the dressing, wash your hands and put on clean gloves. Clean the wound and use clean gauze to dab the area around the wound until it is as dry as it can get. Remove the gloves once again, wash your hands and put on a clean pair of gloves. Administer a film of moisture barrier around the wound and apply filler if the wound is deep. Allow the hydrocolloid dressing to warm between your hands for a few minutes before applying it. Once you have removed the paper from the back, place the dressing over the center of the wound and smooth it from the center outward towards the edges. Apply slight pressure for a few seconds to aid adhesion.

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