Hydrocolloid Dressing for Wound Care
Hydrocolloid dressings are among the most commonly used wound dressings. This guide will help you decide which type of dressing is best for your specific need.
What are Hydrocolloids?
Hydrocolloids are a dressing that can help wounds heal faster and more effectively by providing moisture to keep the surrounding tissue soft. They also act as an anti-infective, preventing outside bacteria from entering through your skin.
It's a transparent dressing that acts like a sponge that fills with liquid from your wound to lessen the chance of dehydration and dryness.
Materials and Sizes Available
Hydrocolloid bandages are available as films or foams.
Films have two thin layers. The inner layer is gel-like and absorbs drainage while providing a moisture barrier that promotes wound healing. The outer layer protects against bacterial contamination, dirt, debris, and bodily fluids, and excrements. Films have the most variety, with dressings available in two-by-two inches, four-by-four inches, or six-by-six inches.
Hydrocolloid foams, like the films, have two layers. The inner gel-like layer absorbs drainage and an outer foam layer to protect the wound against contaminants entering. Foams come in four-by-four inches or six-by-six-inch squares. You would choose the dressing based on the size of the wound.
Foam dressings add a layer of cushion to the wound area for added comfort and thermal protection while the wound heals. They also are a better option for patients with necrotic (dead) tissue.
When choosing foam, consider options like McKesson square hydrocolloid dressings for more drainage or partial-to-full-thickness wounds.
When and How Do You Use Hydrocolloids for Wound Care?
Hydrocolloid dressings are an excellent solution for Stage II wounds, like a shallow, open ulcer or a serum-filled blister, and stage III wounds, with loss of total muscular thickness. These wounds often have a moderate amount of fluid drainage that hydrocolloid dressings can absorb. Other examples of stage II and III wounds include:
Sometimes, like when the skin around the wound edges breaks down, the wound is deeper and infected with bacteria; you may need to consider adding a liquid film barrier, like Smith & Nephew's antimicrobial wound gel, before the hydrocolloid dressing.
Here's how to use hydrocolloid dressing film or foam:
Hydrocolloid Dressing Films vs. Foams
Hydrocolloid dressing films and foams are great options for moderately oozing wounds. They can dislodge if there is more drainage or friction to the wound area. Choosing a waterproof bandage will allow it to be worn while showering, swimming, or sweating.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to wound dressing, but there are some best practices you can follow. Which dressing is proper for you depends on the wound type and location. You can use transparent dressings like hydrocolloids for many wounds, though. Always consult with your doctor when deciding which dressing is best suited for your wound care needs.