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What is Foam Dressing?

Foam dressings provide a warm, moist environment to wounds for optimal healing. Foam Dressings are made of semi-permeable/hydrophilic polyurethane foam; these dressings are adherent and non-adherent plus non-linting with a waterproof outer layer. Highly absorbent in nature, they are suitable for light-to-moderate-to-heavy exuding wounds. They are simple, reliable, and available in multiple size and shape options.

How do Foam Dressings work?

Foam dressings for wounds are known to provide the right amount of moisture required for healing. They provide a protective barrier against bacteria and shield the wound from infections. These dressings allow water vapor to enter but not bacteria and other contaminants. Foam dressings provide insulation keeping the wound bed warm and moist.

They do not adhere to the wound and, therefore, permit trauma-free dressing change. Such dressings serve as a cushion on the wound surface. You can use these dressings during compression therapy and also on wounds with hyper-granulation and infections.

Features of Wound Care Foam Dressings

  • May be used as a primary or secondary dressing

  • Easy to apply and remove

  • Have hydrophilic wound side and a hydrophobic exterior

  • Available in different shapes and sizes, with or without adhesive borders, as pads, sheets or cavity dressings

  • Dressing change should be every 3 to 7 days

  • Non-adhesive foam dressing is ideal for those with fragile, sensitive skin but will require a secondary dressing

When to use Foam Dressings for wounds?

Foam dressings can be used on many wound types and are highly effective on granulating and ephithelializing wounds. They may be used to absorb drainage around tubes and as secondary dressings for wounds requiring packing.

Wound types that could benefit from foam dressings are:

  • Moderate-to-high exuding wounds
  • Early stage pressure ulcers
  • Venous ulcers/foot/leg ulcers
  • Donor sites
  • Diabetic ulcers
  • Acute/traumatic wounds
  • Laceration/abrasions
  • Partial or full thickness wounds
  • Partial thickness burn/second degree burn
  • Superficial burn/first degree burn
  • Full thickness burn/third degree burn/graft wound
  • Surgical/post-operative wounds
  • Arterial ulcers
  • Superficial or low exudate wounds
  • Low-to-moderate discharge
  • IV or Pin Site

How to apply Foam Dressings?

It is essential to understand the proper way to apply and remove the foam dressing, and you should follow your physician's instructions. In general terms, the steps are:
  • Put on gloves.
  • Clean the area with a saline solution.
  • Dry the surrounding skin with a sterile gauze.
  • Apply the foam dressing at least 1" beyond the wound edges.
  • Cover it with a secondary dressing if necessary.
  • If the primary dressing is not bordered with an adhesive, you may need tape or wrap to hold it in place.
  • Removal of the foam dressing is effortless. Peel off the dressing and repeat the cleansing procedure.

How often to change Foam Dressing?

In the case of foam dressings, there's less need to change dressing frequently – generally, patients need to change the foam dressing every 2 to 4 days. That's why these dressing are often used for highly leaky wounds.

Types of Wound Care Foam Dressings

By properties, they include -

  • Water-proof,
  • Bordered,
  • Non-adhesive,
  • Self-adhesive,
  • Adhesive,
  • Without border and
  • Adhesive border dressings.

When to avoid using Foam Dressings?

Do not use foam wound dressing if:

  • The wound does not have much exudate because this dressing will cause the wound bed to dry up

  • Dressing becomes too saturated with exudate, which may lead to maceration of the surrounding skin

  • Wound is a third-degree burn, sinus tract or wounds with necrotic tissues

  • Wound requires frequent dressing change which may prove expensive


We have several types of foam wound dressings from trusted makers like Hollister, Medline, Covidien/Medtronic, Ferris Mfg, Molnlycke Healthcare, Acelity/Systagenix, ConvaTec, Hartmann USA, Coloplast, etc.

Medline Optifoam wound dressings are a popular choice for their conformability and for preventing shear and friction. The Molnlycke Lyofoam dressing works under compression and has high absorbency and fluid retention capabilities. An open-cell foam pad, 3M Reston is developed to protect against skin damage caused by splints, casts and prostheses. The ConvaTec Aquacel Foam Pro is multi-layered silicone foam dressing and powered by Hydrofiber technology. Mepilex Lite is designed for low-exuding acute and chronic wounds. It locks in exudate through vertical wicking reducing maceration risks of the peri-wound skin.

Research and Articles on Foam Dressing