Terms to Know: Wound Dressings 101

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Alginate: Highly absorptive, non-occlusive dressing derived from brown seaweed or kelp.

Antimicrobial dressing: Delivers a sustained release of antimicrobial agents to the wound, to eradicate bioburden.

Collagen: Derived from bovine, equine, porcine, and/or avian sources. Collagen increases matrix metalloproteinases and organization of newly formed collagen fibers, thus promoting granulation formation.

Composites: Multiple layers that incorporate a semi- or non-adherent pad. There is an assortment of sizes available for this dressing.

Contact layer: A thin, non-adherent sheet that is placed in a wound to protect tissue from other topical agents or dressings applied to the wound.

Foam: Polyurethane foam capable of absorbing high exudate. These dressings may be impregnated or layered or combined with other materials.

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Gauze and non-woven: Non-woven or woven sponges, strips, pads, bordered and can be impregnated with hydrogel, silver, or honey.

Gelling Fibers: Composed of sodium carboxymethylcellulose, blended super absorbents, gelling fibers are available in pads, ropes, and bordered. They can be impregnated with hydrogel, silver, or honey.

Hydrocolloid: Occlusive and or semi-occlusive dressing containing pectin cellulose, and gelatin. This dressing promotes autolytic debridement.

Hydrogel: Glycerin and water based, hydrogels are available in gauzes, gels, and sheets and can be impregnated with silver or collagen.

Impregnated Dressing: Impregnated wound dressings are gauzes and non-woven sponges, ropes and strips saturated with a solution, an emulsion, oil or some other agent or compound.

Medical grade honey: The main component of medical grade honey is manuka honey or active Leptospermum. This dressing helps prepare the wound bed and promote autolysis.

Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT):This dressing is available as a foam that is plain, antimicrobial, or a higher density for tunneling and undermining. It can be impregnated with silver.

Petrolatum and Oil Emulsions:These dressings are available in an assortment of sizes.

Silicone gel sheets: Soft wound covers that are compose of cross-linked polymers, reinforced with or bonded to mesh or fabric.

Silver Dressings: Different types of properties available. Slowly released silver ions, broad spectrum, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus.

Super absorbent/specialty absorptive: Multilayered wound covers that absorb high exudate levels.

Transparent film: A semi-permeable dressing that provides protection, promotes autolytic debridement, and is waterproof.

Note: The information provided herein is for informational purposes. Always refer to manufacturer information for Indications, Warnings and Precautions for a specific product.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies

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