A focus on wound dressings

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The intention when we cover a wound is to create an optimal environment for wound healing. The wound dressing...

  • protects the wound from exposure to the environment, preventing it from becoming infected and stopping any further damage to the wounded area.
  • helps to keep the wound bed moist but not soggy. We looked recently at why moist wound healing is beneficial - it helps to promote cell growth and migration.
  • can help to treat infection by releasing antimicrobial agents or by creating a barrier to bacteria.
  • can help to promote tissue growth by releasing growth factors or by providing a matrix for cells to grow on.
  • can carry treatment agents like hypochlorous acid and bring that treatment agent into and onto the wound.
  • can absorb wound fluids and exudate that are discharged by the wound, especially when the wound is inflamed.
  • when removed from wounds during dressing changes, gives valuable information to the clinician treating the wound. The dressings show the presence of blood or infection and can reveal the colour of the wound discharge, all important indicators to the health care provider.

Wound dressings can be used to treat a variety of wounds, including:

  • Surgical wounds
  • Pressure sores
  • Diabetic foot ulcers
  • Burns
  • Chronic wounds

Common types of advanced wound dressings

  • Hydrogel dressings are made up of a gel that contains water and other ingredients, such as glycerine and hyaluronic acid. Hydrogel dressings help to keep the wound bed moist and promote cell growth.
  • Alginate dressings are made from seaweed. They are particularly absorbent and can help to control moisture levels in the wound bed. Alginate dressings can also help to debride (remove dead tissue from) from the wound.
  • Foam dressings are made from a soft, porous material. They are very absorbent and can help to control moisture levels in the wound bed. Foam dressings can also help to relieve pressure on the wound and are the least painful of all dressing types.
  • Woven surgical gauze is one of the least expensive and most versatile dressings that can be found. Surgical gauze dressings wet with our non-toxic hypochlorous acid cost significantly less than silver-impregnated dressings, or alginate dressings. Yet, Trifectiv dressings have been shown to be more effective than other wound dressings.

The use of antimicrobial textiles

Antimicrobial textiles are fabrics that have been treated with antimicrobial agents. These agents can kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. Antimicrobial textiles are used in a variety of ways, including in wound dressings, clothing, and medical equipment. They can help to reduce the risk of infection and promote wound healing.

The most common types of antimicrobial textiles include:

  • Silver-impregnated textiles: Silver is a well-known antimicrobial agent and silver-impregnated textiles are made by coating a fabric with silver nanoparticles. These are often used in wound dressings and medical equipment. However silver dressings are moderately toxic to wounds, even though they kill bacteria.
  • Iodine-impregnated textiles: Iodine is another well-known antimicrobial agent and iodine-impregnated textiles are made by coating a fabric with iodine. These are also commonly used in wound dressings and surgical drapes. Iodine is moderately to severely toxic to cells and many people have reactions to iodine. It has also lost its effectiveness due to bacterial resistance to the iodine.
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs)-impregnated textiles: QACs are a type of antimicrobial agent that are effective against a wide range of microorganisms. QACs-impregnated textiles are often used in clothing and medical equipment. Bacteria have also developed resistance to QACs so they are less commonly used now than in the past.

The development of new dressings and skin substitutes

Researchers are always developing new and improved wound dressings and skin substitutes. The most promising new developments include:

  • Smart dressings: Smart dressings are dressings that can monitor the healing process and provide feedback to the healthcare team. This information can be used to adjust the treatment plan and improve the patient's outcome.
  • 3D-printed dressings: 3D-printed dressings are dressings that can be customized to fit the exact shape and size of the wound. This can help to improve the healing process and reduce the risk of complications.
  • Cell-based therapies: Cell-based therapies involve using the patient's own cells to promote wound healing. This can be done by applying stem cells or growth factors to the wound.

These are a selection of new and innovative wound dressings and skin substitutes that are being developed. As research continues, we can expect to see even more advanced and effective wound care products in the future.

As you have read, wound dressings are an essential part of wound care. They can help to protect the wound from infection, promote healing, and reduce pain and discomfort. Due to bacteria developing resistance to them, antimicrobial textiles are becoming less popular in wound care, however, new developments and research into dressings and skin substitutes always offer the potential in the future to improve the healing process and reduce the risk of complications.

Right now we find the use of woven, non-sterile, surgical gauze and Trifectiv Plus Wound & Burn care to be the easiest and most cost-effective way to treat all manner of wounds quickly and effectively.


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