When you get a cut or scrape, Neosporin and bandages can often come to the rescue. However, more severe wounds that land you in the doctor’s office or hospital often require wound care products with a little more strength. Hydrogel is one of the products you may hear your doctor mention.

Here’s a quick overview of this wound treatment product:

hydrogelHydrogel is an effective treatment for dry wounds.

Defining hydrogel

Hydrogel is made of predominantly water, which is mixed with compounds to thicken the substance and add to its healing abilities. Wound Source noted that the compounds vary by manufacturer, but common ones include glycerine, aloe vera, methyl paraben and hydrogenated castor oil. Hydrogels are a popular treatment for particularly dry wounds, such as burns, radiation damage and certain partial- or full-thickness wounds. They’re also beneficial for ensuring the wound bed stays moist enough to prevent pain during dressing changes and promote proper healing.

Using hydrogel wound dressings

With such healing benefits, hydrogel is added to traditional gauze or mesh materials to create a hydrogel wound dressing. There are a few different types, including sheet, impregnated and amorphous hydrogel.

According to a recent review published in the European Polymer Journal, hydrogel-based dressings are among the most promising wound care materials because they fulfill many requirements. These include:

  • Keeping the wound bed moist.
  • Protecting sensitive tissue with adhesion-free coverage.
  • Reducing pain by cooling the affected area.
  • Boosting the wound healing process.

On the downside, hydrogels are not suitable for wounds with large amounts of drainage because they’re designed to add rather than remove moisture. Some hydrogel dressings may also tear easily, requiring more frequent and potentially more complicated dressing changes.

Advancing hydrogel for better wound care

Researchers continue to test new ways to use hydrogel for wound treatment. A team at the University of New Hampshire recently developed a low-cost injectable hydrogel that can help accelerate wound healing, especially in patients with diabetic ulcers, skin wounds and internal organ damage. The researchers hope the new hydrogel will become a useful tool for wound healing and tissue engineering.

If your treatment plan requires a hydrogel dressing, smartPAC by Advanced Tissue is the smarter way to receive the prescribed products at home. We’ll send you single-dose packets as well as step-by-step video tutorials to help you manage your dressing changes and promote healing.