Wound dressings come in many different kinds of categories.
There are a number of different experiences or events that lead to an equally plentiful amount of wound types. More than just how the injury occurred, doctors utilize different treatment protocols for addressing a post-surgical incision versus a low-level burn. As a result, a multitude of dressing options have been developed that caregivers routinely employ. Understanding the specific need for each unique kind of dressing lends patients a better understanding of just what goes into effective wound care management:
- Alginate dressings
If the name of these dressings evokes images of algae, you’re not too far off. Alginate dressings are actually derived from a certain kind of seaweed, and this unique composition has made them a reliable choice for the better part of the last 50 years or so, according to Home Healthcare Now. Because they’re made of a biodegradable material, alginate dressings have an especially high rate of absorbency, which helps to reduce the risk of bacterial infection and drainage and other secretions.
- Hydrogel dressings
Proper moisture is an integral part of the wound healing process, and that’s why physicians everywhere readily use hydrogels in their practices. First developed in the early 1950s, hydrogels are made of 90 percent water, and that content helps to control the exchange of fluids within the wound site. By properly controlling moisture levels, these unique gels help improve debridement of dead tissue and promote increased tissue regeneration while also soothing pain in most burns or abrasions.
- Collagen dressings
Though not always the immediate choice for many patients, collagen dressings are an excellent option for healing partial thickness wounds. That includes skin grafts, necrotic wounds and even second-degree burns. These dressings are derived from animal tissue – like that from cows and pigs – and their biological comparability helps bolster both tissue growth and fibroblast production. However, because they’re made in part from living tissue, doctors won’t use collagen dressings on those patients with specific allergies or a history of skin irritations.
- Foam dressings
Beyond the use of hydrogels, many physicians also turn to another tool when trying to create the proper moisture levels in a wound site: foam dressings. Made of a specialized blend of semipermeable polyurethane, these dressings allow moisture to enter the wound while preventing the spread of bacteria and other harmful particles. Foam dressings are best used on wounds with minimal exudate – like lacerations and pressure ulcers – but don’t work on especially dry injuries, namely those with excess eschar and third-degree burns.
- Hydrocolloid dressings
Among the many dressing types, hydrocolloid is noted for having an especially unique design. Combining gel-forming agents with a polyurethane film or foam, these self-adhering dressings are highly flexible and totally waterproof. Hydrocolloid works by boosting the body’s own moisture, absorbing outside water and exudate to help seal off the entire wound site. Though these dressings work best for most partial or full thickness wounds, they can often cause hypergranulation, or an excess of skin growth.
- Transparent film dressing
As the journal Wound Care Advisor pointed out, transparent film dressing is often described as a second skin. That’s a rather apt description, as transparent film is perfectly suited to keep out excess water and other contaminants. And much like actual skin, there is a certain flexibility to these dressings, which makes them able to adhere to almost any wound regardless of their location on the body. Plus, the inherent transparency gives doctors added visibility. Because of their basic design, these dressings don’t work on moist surfaces or wounds with heavy exudate.
Ask your clinician which Advanced Tissue products are best for your wound care needs.