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Hydrocolloid Dressings - Introduction | How it Works | When to Use | Types & Brands | Research & Articles

What is a Hydrocolloid Dressing?

Hydrocolloid dressing is an advanced wound care product designed to promote wound recovery and provide a painless healing experience. It contains gel-forming agents such as sodium carboxy-methylcellulose (NaCMC), pectin, polymers, gelatin, etc., which swell upon coming into contact with exudate. The dressing is absorbent, usually waterproof and adheres not to the wound but to the surrounding skin.

How Hydrocolloid Dressings Work?

Hydrocolloid wound dressings provide a highly-effective moist environment, which is ideal for healing. Gel-forming agents are mixed with adhesives plus elastomers and then applied to a polyurethane foam or film. The gel-forming agents form a gel on coming into contact with the exudate. The viscosity of the gel will depend on the gel-forming agents contained within. Some may form a thick gel while others may lead to a watery one. The moist environment provided by the hydrocolloid is conducive to quick recovery of the wound. Generally, the dressing is impermeable to moisture but once the gel forms, the dressing becomes absorbent thus pulling in more and more exudate. The moist core of FlexiCol Hydrocolloid Wound Dressing allows for higher and quicker fluid uptake so there is very little residue remaining behind on the wound.

Features of Hydrocolloid Dressings

  • Protect from bacterial infection
  • May be changed every 3 to 7 days leaving the healing and newly-formed skin undisturbed
  • Does not stick to the wound and therefore allows for a quick and painless dressing change
  • May be used along with venous compressions products
  • Can adhere to a wet wound site as well as a dry one
  • Available in multiple shapes to conform to different parts of the body
  • Cost-effective

When to use Hydrocolloid Dressing?

Hydrocolloid bandages can be used on many wound types but they are most effective on:
  • Partial or full thickness wounds
  • Non-infected wounds
  • Low-to-moderate discharge
  • Necrotic or granular wounds

Hydrocolloid wound dressings may also be used for the following wound types:
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Venous ulcers/foot/leg ulcers
  • Superficial or low exudate wounds
  • Donor sites
  • Laceration/abrasions
  • Hydrocolloid Dressing for burns
    • Partial thickness burn/second degree burn
    • Superficial burn/first degree burn
    • Full thickness burn/third degree burn/graft wound
  • Diabetic ulcers
  • Surgical/post-operative wounds
  • Acute/traumatic wounds
  • Arterial ulcers

When should you not use Hydrocolloid Bandages?

  • Hydrocolloid bandages are not recommended on wounds with heavy exudates, infected wounds and sinus tracts. The dressings may get dislodged if used on the highly-exuding wound.
  • Hydrocolloid dressings may cause hyper-granulation and allow the skin around the wound site to macerate.
  • The dressing may stick to the wound leading to unpleasant smelling residue on removal.
  • It may roll or curl up at the edges. To prevent this, the Hollister Restore Plus dressing has a tapered edge which minimizes edge roll thus extending wear time and lowering treatment cost. The Derma PrimaCol hydrocolloid wound dressing, too, is bordered and with tapered edges designed to minimize bunching and rolling up, proving to be cost-effective.

What are the different types of Hydrocolloid Wound Dressings?

Hydrocolloid dressings are available as:

Hydrocolloid Dressing Brands

Hydrocolloid dressing brands that are highly effective include 3M Tegaderm, DuoDerm dressings, Comfeel, RepliCare, Nu-Derm, Exuderm and Cutimed. The Medline Exuderm LP has a dressing change frequency of maximum of seven days and depends on the amount of drainage. It can be used for primary, secondary, shallow and moderate wounds. The Coloplast Wound Dressing, 3M Tegaderm hydrocolloid dressing is thin and provides a viral barrier while staying intact without leakage. It is available in oval and square and multiple sizes. The Derma dermaGran B hydrophilic Wound Dressing is ideal for external wounds and gives a moist wound environment for quick healing.


Research and Articles on Hydrocolloid Dressing


Case Studies on Hydrocolloids Bandages