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 it. Some may form a thick gel, while others may lead to a watery one. Generally, the dressing is impervious to moisture, but once the gel forms, it becomes absorbent, thus pulling in more and more exudate. The moist environment provided by the hydrocolloid is conducive to quick wound recovery. The wet core of FlexiCol Hydrocolloid Wound Dressing allows for higher and more rapid fluid uptake, so very little residue remains behind on the wound.
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 the 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 in multiple sizes. The Derma dermaGran B hydrophilic Wound Dressing is ideal for external wounds and gives a moist wound environment for quick healing.
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A hydrocolloid dressing is a wafer-type dressing comprised of an adhesive compound filled with a gel-forming agent. It is similar to an absorbent, flexible wafer that has the quality of being waterproof and self-adhering. As the dressing is self-adherent, it offers complete protection to the wound bed. It provides a sufficient moist healing environment, an auto debridement process and acts as insulation to the wound bed. Hydrocolloid dressing is a biodegradable and non-breathable dressing. It adheres to the skin therefore no separate taping is required. It appears dense or translucent.
Hydrocolloid dressing uses the body’s own moisture and enzymes to offer a moist healing environment thus keeping the wound bed hydrated for quick healing. The dressing absorbs the wound exudate and forms a gel the properties of which are dependent on the agent present in the compound.
Hydrocolloid dressings can be used on different types of wounds. They are best on wounds that are non-infected or of partial/full thickness and possess low-to-moderate drainage. These dressings can be used under medical supervision, even in situations when aerobic infection exists. Hydrocolloid dressings can be used in the treatment of pressure ulcers. If used on eczema wounds, these dressings act as a steroid sealing ointment and provide a barrier against scratching. Hydrocolloid dressings can also be used in the treatment of minor or full-thickness burns.
Hydrocolloid dressing change frequency depends largely on the manufacturer guideline but generally, these dressings have to be changed every 3 to 7 days. They are meant for extended wear up to a week.
Hydrocolloid dressings are easy to use and have to be changed every 3 to 5 days. There is no trauma on removal. This makes it effective for cleaning, granulating, superficial wounds with low-to-medium exudate.