Using Silver Alginate Dressing for Wound Care

Topical antimicrobial dressings are used to prevent and manage infections in a wide range of wounds. Silver, as a topical antimicrobial agent, has been used in wound care for over hundreds of years. The active agents, silver ions, are effective in killing microbes instantly by blocking the respiratory enzyme system whilst remaining non-toxic to surrounding tissues.

How is silver incorporated in a dressing?

The silver component of the dressings may appear in the following forms:

  • As a coating on one or both the external surfaces of the dressing (elemental or nanocrystalline silver). Silver laced on the surface of the dressing comes in direct contact with the wound where its antimicrobial action takes place.
  • Within the structure of the dressing, either as a coating on dressing material (elemental or compound silver), within the space of the dressing material (elemental or compound silver), or as a compound that forms a part of the dressing structure (e.g. Silver alginate). Silver within the dressing structure acts on bacteria absorbed into the dressing with the wound exudate but may get diffused to some extent into the wound.
  • As a combination of both.

The delivery vehicle or platform is equally important to ensure that the sustainability and efficacy of the antimicrobial (such as silver) can be maintained. So, a variety of silver dressings for wound care are available, including, foam, hydrogels, alginates, hydro fiber, hydrocolloids, and polymeric films. For instance, the Silvasorb Silver Antimicrobial Wound Gel is ideal for lightly draining infected wounds. It combines the antimicrobial benefits of silver with the moisturizing benefits of a hydrogel. The Molnlycke Mepilex Ag Antimicrobial Foam Dressing is used for the treatment of medium-exuding chronic or acute wounds which are infected. It is a combination of the silver’s antimicrobial action and the Safetec technology that rescues pain and skin damage during dressing change.

What is a Silver Alginate Dressing?

A wide range of non-antimicrobial wound dressings is being used for managing non-infected chronic wounds. They promote wound healing by generating and maintaining a moist environment. Alginate wound dressings are the best example that are used in the management of exudating wounds. The Systagenix Silvercel Silver Alginate Wound Dressing is meant for exudating infected chronic wounds. Its antimicrobial action, fluid absorbing capacity, and high wet tensile strength enable the correct management of chronic wounds.

Antimicrobials, such as silver are incorporated into the alginate wound dressing for treating at-risk or infected chronic wounds. Alginate wound dressings impregnated with silver have significant benefits in wound care. It ensures the bioavailability of silver at the wound site for a long period of time. This minimizes the nursing time, thus cutting down the healthcare cost. Alginate wound care also reduces the patient’s discomfort which is common during dressing change. Also, silver-containing alginate wound dressings are effective against a wide spectrum of microorganisms. Ferris PolyMem MAX Silver Dressings for infected wounds are the best suited for heavy exudating wounds requiring a long dressing wear time. They contain a mild, non-toxic tissue-friendly cleansing agent, which maintains a clean wound bed.

Thus, silver alginate dressing uses a combination of highly absorbent characteristics of alginate dressings and antimicrobial efficacy of silver bandages. This makes them particularly beneficial in the management of highly exuding wounds.

When to use Silver Alginate Dressings?

Silver alginate dressings are best for:

  • Acute wounds, such as surgical or traumatic wounds and burns;
  • Chronic wounds, such as diabetic foot ulcers, venous leg ulcers, pressure ulcers, arterial leg/foot ulcers.
  • Systemic infection, involving severe sepsis and multiple organ dysfunctions.
  • In cases of infected acute or chronic wounds obstructed from healing by microorganisms, a silver dressing reduces bioburden.
  • In cases of acute or chronic wounds at a high risk of infection or re-infection, a silver dressing acts as an antimicrobial barrier.

When not to use Silver Alginate Dressings?

Silver alginate dressing should not be used in the following cases:

  • No symptoms of localized, spreading or systemic infection;
  • Surgical/small acute wounds at low risk of infection;
  • Chronic wounds healing as per comorbidities and age;
  • Patients sensitive to silver or any of the dressing components;
  • During pregnancy or lactation; and
  • When contraindicated by the manufacturer.

Top Selling Silver Alginate Dressings

Abena Calcium Alginate Dressing With Silver Cardinal Health Silver Alginate and CMC Wound Dressing Systagenix Silvercel Antimicrobial Alginate Dressing
Abena Calcium Alginate Dressing With Silver

Cardinal Health Silver Alginate and CMC Wound Dressing
Systagenix Silvercel Antimicrobial Alginate Dressing

Thus, silver dressings play a critical role in wound management. A wide variety of silver dressings are available. An assessment of the individual and the wound is required to make the correct dressing choice.


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