Alginate dressings are made soft non-woven fibers which are derived from seaweed. These dressings are capable of absorbing large amounts of wound drainage. As alginates absorb drainage, they form a gel-like covering over the wound, which maintains a moist environment that is optimal for healing. During dressing changes, the gel can be rinsed or soaked away with saline, allowing removal of the dressing without re-traumatizing the wound bed and minimizing pain.
Alginate dressings are also available with silver (AG). Alginate AG dressings are effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria and fungi.
Antimicrobial dressings contain bacteria-fighting agents that help inhibit bacterial growth and prevent bacteria from penetrating through and colonizing within the dressing. By helping to control the bacterial burden of the wound, antimicrobial dressings may promote wound healing.
Collagen dressings contain collagen which is the most abundant protein in the body. Collagen dressings can be used directly on the wound and have high absorption capability. For a wound that is dry, the collagen may be moistened with saline. Collagen dressings are also available with silver (AG).
Composite dressings combine two or more physically distinct products that are manufacturered as a single dressing.
Contact layers are thin, clear dressings that provide protection to the wound. In the absence of infection, they can be left in place for up to one week. In a wound that is draining, another dressing such as gauze or a foam dressing will need to be placed over a contact layer order to absorb excess fluid.
Foam dressings are absorbent dressings that vary in thickness and have a non-adherent layer, allowing non-traumatic removal. Some foam dressings havea an adhesive boarder and may have a film coating as an additional bacterial barrier. Foam dressings provide a moist environment and thermal insulation. Foams may be used on intact skin over areas such as elbows and knees to prevent blistering. Foam dressings are also available with silver (AG).
Hydrocolloid dressings are occlusive or semi-occlusive dressings composed of materials such as gelatin or pectin. Hydrocolloids provide a moist healing environment that allows clean wounds to granulate and necrotic wounds to debride autolytically.
Hydrogels are water or glycerin-based gels, impregnated gauzes or sheet dressing. They provide a moist environment and serve to hydrate the wound. Hydrogels promote granulation and epithelialization and facilitate autolytic debridement. Hydrogels are also available with silver (AG).
Retention dressings may be used to secure primary and secondary dressings and hold them in place. They are an alternative to tape.
Specialty Absorbent Dressings
Specialty absorptive dressings are made up of dry dressings with highly absorbent fiber layers.
Tape can be used to secure a wound dressing or a medical device.
Transparent films are adhesive, semi-permeable membrane dressings that vary in thickness and size. Transparent films are waterproof and impermeable to bacteria. They help maintain a moist healing environment, promoting formation of granulation tissue and autolysis of necrotic tissue.