​ All You Need To Know About Hydrocolloid Dressings

Hydrocolloid dressing is known to have a unique design. It includes an adhesive compound containing gel-forming agents like gelatin or sodium carboxymethylcellulose. The adhesive compound is laminated on a film or foam made from polyurethane. The dressing so formed is absorbent, flexible, waterproof and self-adhering. Hydrocolloid wound dressing provides insulation and a moist wound environment conducive to healing. It uses the moisture and enzymes of the body to hydrate the wound bed for faster healing.

​Hydrocolloid Dressing

Hydrocolloid Dressing - Works as a Primary or Secondary Dressing

Hydrocolloid dressings is available in paste, gel, or sheet form and may be used as a primary or a secondary dressing. The paste or gel dressing needs a secondary dressings for proper security. When used as a secondary dressing, the wound surface should be in the contact of an alginate or a gelling cellulose fibre.

Hydrocolloid wound dressings consists of a hydrocolloid matrix containing materials like pectin, gelatin and carboxymethylcellulose. It is an absorbent, opaque, waterproof and adherent wafer that carries hydrophilic colloidal particles in a hydrophobic polymer. When the dressing comes in the contact of wound surface, the fluid is absorbed by the hydrophilic particles. These particles swell, liquefy, and convert into a gel over the wound surface, enhancing autolytic debridement. Hydrocolloid bandage is impermeable to oxygen, water vapor, and carbon dioxide.

   ​Hydrocolloid Dressing                  ​Hydrocolloid Dressing

Features of Hydrocolloid Wound Dressing

  • Self-adherent
  • Does not adhere to moist wound base
  • Impermeable to gases, bacteria, water vapour, water, and many other external contaminants
  • Provides moist wound environment that promotes new tissue formation
  • Minimal disruption to healing
  • Waterproof property lets users take shower with it
  • Easy to apply to wound surface
  • Quick exudate absorption
  • Reduces pain
  • May be used with venous compression products
  • Can be worn for several days without being changed

What is Hydrocolloid Dressing used for?

Hydrocolloid dressing is used to treat different types of wounds. Best results are seen when the wound is uninfected:

  • Partial or full thickness wounds
  • Granular and necrotic wounds
  • Low to moderate drainage wounds
  • Surgical incisions
  • Pressure injuries
  • Leg ulcers

Contraindications of Hydrocolloid Dressing

Hydrocolloid bandage is usually contraindicated for:

  • Dry wounds or burns
  • Wounds having exposed tendon or bone
  • Wounds with heavy exudate
  • Infected wounds
  • Wounds with fragile periwound skin
  • Deep narrow sinus tracts
  • Tunneling wounds

How to Use a Hydrocolloid Wound Dressing?

  • Use a saline solution to clean the wound.
  • Pat dry the skin around the wound with the help of a sterile gauze.
  • Measure the dressing to allow about a margin of one inch from the wound edge.
  • Remove the paper liner and apply the hydrocolloid dressing in the center of the wound. Use a rolling motion to smooth out the edges.
  • Do not overstretch or apply too much tension because it can result in blistering, skin trauma or breaks to the surrounding skin.
  • After applying the dressing, hold it in place with the help of your palms. The warmth of your hand will mold the dressing to the skin.
  • If the hydrocolloid dressing does not have its own border, use an adhesive tape, under cast padding, netting or retention bandage to secure it.

Changing Frequency of Hydrocolloid Dressing

  • The wounds covered by hydrocolloid bandage are moist and protected, and need not be cleaned daily.
  • In fact, the wounds will heal faster if they are not cleaned or exposed to air regularly.
  • Hydrocolloid dressing will need a change every 3 to 7 days.
  • Sometimes, if the dressing starts leaking from the edges or it is 70% full with the wound exudate, it can be changed earlier.


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