Alginate Dressings

Alginate dressings are natural wound dressings made from seaweed and used for heavily exuding wounds. These dressings provide a moist wound healing environment and are biodegradable in nature. They have calcium and sodium fibers whose water insoluble gelatinous properties help absorb large amounts of exudates without causing saturation or discomfort. When the dressing comes into contact with the exudate, it forms a soft, integral gel which conforms to the wound contours. These dressings do not stick to the delicate healing tissues and are easy to remove.


Calcium alginate dressings are versatile in nature and have various applications. They work best on wet wounds, which produce a lot of exudate and sloughy wounds which have dead tissues. Alginate dressings are effective on:

  • Diabetic wounds
  • Wounds with moderate-to-heavily exudates
  • Shallow or cavity wounds
  • Full-thickness burns
  • Surgical wounds
  • Split-thickness graft donor sites
  • Mohs surgery defects
  • Refractory decubiti

And because of their hemostatic properties, alginate dressings are also used on bleeding wounds.

These wound dressings should not be applied on dry and heavily necrotic wounds. Calcium alginate dressings need exudate to form a gel-like covering and initiate healing. If the wound bed is dry the dressing will stick to it and be painful to remove.

Calcium Alginate Dressing Types

Calcium alginate wound dressings are available in varying presentations such as ribbon dressing and flat, non-woven pads.You can choose from alginate dressings which are latex or latex-free and incorporated with silver, hydrocolloid or carboxymethylcellulose (CMC).There are wound dressings with an antimicrobial agent to fight infection.
Calcium alginate dressings with silver display effective antimicrobial action against bacteria and release silver ions into the wound depending on the exudate amount present.There are self-adhesive alginate dressings but some are non-adherent types and will need a secondary dressing.

Why Choose Calcium Alginate Dressings

  • Calcium alginates are ideal for deep cavity wounds because the gel formed on coming into contact with the exudate conforms to the wound site.
  • These dressings are biodegradable and promote autolytic debridement.
  • Removal is easy with saline irrigation without causing any trauma to the wound or disturbing the healing granulation tissue.

Which Alginate Dressing to Buy

Dressing selection decision will depend on the status of the wound because there are different types of alginate dressings available.
In the initial period, the wound produces more exudate which gradually lessens as healing progresses. The wound retains some amount of moisture needed for the healing process and the excess is absorbed by the dressing. But if healing is delayed and wound becomes chronic with excessive exudate then this could be as a result of an infection. There are super-absorbent alginate dressings which are useful under such circumstances.
If the wound is sloughy with excess dead, soft necrotic tissues then high gelling Kaltostat, Tegaderm and Sorbalgon alginate dressings are key.
The gel-like consistency is formed as the dressing absorbs exudate to provide a moist wound healing environment with easy removal.Wounds with a deep cavity require alginate dressings in the form of a rope or ribbon. The dressing is packed into the wound ensuring all areas are covered. Flat pads or sheets are used for wounds which are superficial and have heavy exudates, such as leg ulcers.

All our alginate wound dressings are high quality and from leading manufacturers like Medline, 3M, Hollister, Smith & Nephew and ConvaTec. Top alginate dressing brands are featured here like Maxorb, Tegaderm and Biatain.