Specialty Wound Dressings
What is a Specialty Wound Dressing?
Although many chronic wounds can be healed with conventional dressings such as gauze and bandages, more complex wounds may require specialty dressings, growth factors, or bioengineered tissue products to properly heal within an acceptable time frame.
Types of specialty wound dressings include:
- Wound Absorbers: These extra-permeable dressings suppress drainage and protect wounds from environmental contaminants.
- Alginate Dressing: These highly absorbent, biodegradable dressings are made of calcium alginate, which comes from seaweed. When used in a wound, the calcium in the dressing is exchanged with sodium from the wound fluid, transforming the dressing into a gel that promotes a moist healing environment.
- Collagen or Silicone Dressings: Coated with soft silicone, this dressing acts as a wound contact layer and can be removed without damaging the wound or surrounding skin.
- Composite Dressings: Featuring multiple layers (typically 3), these may be used as primary or secondary dressings. The top layer allows gaseous exchange while protecting the wound from harmful airborne contaminants. The center layer absorbs exudate while the bottom layer keeps the wound from adhering to other material.
- Compression Bandages: Please visit our Compression Therapy page.
- Foam Bandages: These highly absorbent, semi-permeable dressings promote faster healing rates and protect the surrounding skin from softening and breaking down due to prolonged moisture exposure (maceration).
- Hydrocolloid Dressings: These are adhesive, totally occlusive (air- and water-tight) wafer dressings that contain gel-forming agents such as sodium carboxymethylcellulose (NaCMC) and gelatin.
- Hydrogels: These absorbent, polymer-based dressings promote and maintain a moist wound healing environment while facilitating cleansing, de-sloughing, and debridement for necrotic and fibrotic tissues.
- Odor-Absorbent Dressings: Several types of odor-absorbent dressings are available for patients with malodorous wounds due to necrosis, infection, or bacterial contamination. These products are often used as a primary or secondary dressing.
- Silver-Containing Dressings: These dressings are widely used to assist with the management of infected wounds. In sufficient concentration, the bioactive (something that acts upon living tissue) silver ions within the dressing effectively kill bacteria.
- Sodium Chloride (NaCl) Dressings: These specialty dressings effectively absorb drainage, bacteria, and necrotic material.
- Transparent Dressings: These flexible, semi-permeable film dressings are composed of transparent polyurethane and coated with an acrylic adhesive. Once in place, they conform to the patient’s body well while the transparency feature allows clinicians to monitor the wound more easily.