Collagen Dressings

Collagen dressings are designed for minimal-to-heavy exuding wounds. They absorb exudates from the wound while at the same time maintaining a moist wound bed conducive for optimal healing. They are derived from animal sources such as bovine, equine and porcine and speed up the recovery period due to the growth of new collagen at the wound site. Collagen dressings for wound care usually require a secondary dressing.

How collagen dressings work

Collagen dressings stimulate new tissue formation and help heal necrotic wounds, skin grafts and second-degree burns. They promote the deposition and organization of newly-formed collagen fibers. Collagen wound dressings provide a framework for building of new tissues and basically work on three premises:

  • Debridement which is removal of necrotic tissue
  • Angiogenesis which is growth of new blood vessels
  • Re-epithelialization which is migration of epidermal cells from wound edge towards the center

When to use collagen dressings

Collagen wound dressings are suitable for use on necrotic or granulating wounds, on wounds with minimal-to-heavy exudates. Wounds which are chronic and non-healing may also benefit from collagen dressings which can jump-start the healing process.

Other wound types ideal for collagen dressings include:

  • Venous ulcers/foot/leg ulcers
  • Diabetic ulcers
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Partial/full thickness wounds
  • Surgical/post-operative wounds
  • Donor sites
  • Acute/traumatic wounds
  • Laceration/abrasions
  • Partial thickness burn/second degree burn
  • Superficial burn/first degree burn
  • Arterial ulcers
  • Low-to-moderate exuding wounds
  • Moderate-to-high exuding wounds

Features of collagen dressings

The matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) available in the wound’s extracellular fluidusually break down the natural collagen in the body thus inhibiting wound healing. Collagen dressing is said to attach to the MMPs providing an alternative collagen source. This allows the body to provide more collagen to a wound for a longer period of time.

When not to use collagen dressings

Collagen wound dressings should not be used on wounds which are:

  • Dry and covered in eschar
  • Third-degree or full thickness burns
  • On individuals who are sensitive to porcine, bovine or avian products

Types of collagen dressings

There are different types of collagen dressings for wound care such as absorbent collagen dressings, anti-microbial collagen dressings, silver collagen dressings, alginate collagen dressings, hydrogel collagen dressings and non-adherent collagen dressings. These are available in different topical formulations such as paste, pads, freeze-dried sheets, gel and powder.

Collagen dressing brands include the popular Puracol collagen dressings and others like Endoform, BIOSTEP, ColActive, Oasis, Cutimed, FIBRACOL, Medifil II, etc. Collagen dressings with silver, like the Medline Puracol Plus AG with antimicrobial silver, are designed to help jump-start stalled chronic wounds and manage bioburden.

Collagen-based wound dressings are versatile as far as dressing change goes. It varies from daily to once in every seven days. Most of them have antimicrobial agents incorporated to limit spread of infections.

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