Educating yourself on how to pack wounds will help to ensure proper wound healing.

Deep wounds require special dressings and an understanding of how to pack wounds to encourage healing and reduce the risk of bacterial infection. Proper wound packing is crucial for tissue growth at the wound’s base to prevent the premature closure of the wound and the formation of abscesses. By following the instructions below and the individual recommendations of your doctor, you can promote healthy wound healing.

Supplies

Before gathering your wound care supplies or opening your Advanced Tissue Smart Pac, be sure to clean all surfaces that may come into contact with the supplies. Use soap to wash your hands and the area on which the supplies will rest. Once you have properly cleaned these surfaces, assemble the following materials:

  • Wound fillers, such as non-adherent gauze, pads, ointments, sponges, and other materials designed to manage exudate
  • Sterile rubber or vinyl gloves
  • Sterile wound-wetting solution
  • Clean towel
  • Clean scissors used only for wound care dressing changes
  • Clean small bowl
  • Medical tape
  • Cover dressing to place over the wound after packing it
  • Cotton swabs
  • Plastic bag for used wound dressings

Steps

After you have assembled your supplies, you can begin to replace old wound fillers. The following steps established by the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma explain how to pack wounds:

  1. Place the clean towel down and set the bowl on the towel.
  2. Pour sterile wetting solution into the bowl, using enough to wet your packing material.
  3. Using clean scissors, cut the appropriate length of packing material needed to pack the wound.
  4. Put the piece of wound-packing material into the bowl containing the wetting solution.
  5. Cut medical tape into strips that will secure the outer dressing of your wound.
  6. Gently remove the old wound bandages and put them into the plastic bag.
  7. Wash your hands again before proceeding to pack the wound.
  8. Put your sterile gloves on and squeeze the extra wetting solution from the packing material so that it does not drip.
  9. Place the packing material into the wound so that the space is occupied but not tightly filled.
  10. Use cotton swabs to gently push wound packing material into all areas of the wound.
  11. After packing the wound, place new dressing material over the wound and tape the material in place.
  12. After removing your gloves, wash your hands once again.

Concerns

Knowing how to pack wounds can significantly reduce the chance of infection, but wounds may become infected under even the most sterile conditions. See your doctor as soon as possible if you notice:

  • Wound tissue changing from pink to yellow, white, or very dark red in color
  • Increased seepage draining from the wound
  • Redness, swelling, or soreness around the wound
  • Foul odors coming from the wound
  • Enlargement of the wound

Deep wound infections can cause fever and chills if an infection has entered the bloodstream. Doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat most bacterial wound infections. If an infected wound fails to respond to antibiotics, drainage from the wound may be tested to determine the exact cause of the infection.

Advanced Tissue offers a variety of wound care supplies for packing wounds and is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients, delivering to both homes and long-term care facilities.