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Silver has been known for its antibacterial properties since thousands of years but its use in advanced wound care has been fairly recent. Wound dressings with silver are strongly antibacterial and help bring down wound bacteria count. Silver wound dressings provides a moist wound environment which promotes wound recovery. Topical antimicrobial silver dressing (like Mepilex Ag) is apt for the treatment of infected wounds and especially found to be most effective in wounds with bioburden or local infection and at risk of it.

How silver dressings work?

The molecular make-up of silver is such that it breaks down bacteria and does not allow it to create chemical bonds and multiply. Using nano crystalline technology, silver is released into the wound through sustained delivery thus eliminating any toxicity risks. The silver brings down or eliminates bioburden in burns and open wounds and act as a barrier against resistant organisms such as MRSA.

Silver wound dressings are apt for the management of acute and chronic wounds and burns. Silver dressings are ideal for deep, highly-exuding cavity wounds which are at risk of infection. On coming in contact with wound exudates, these silver dressings work with the wound fluid triggering the release of activated silver ions for antibacterial action and to neutralize any toxins. Wound dressings with silver reduce excess fluid at the wound site which is transpired away quickly.

How to choose silver wound dressing?

When choosing the silver wound dressing, the patient’s needs, the wound type and the environment will have to be kept in mind. Which silver dressing to buy will depend on the following factors:

  • Level of exudate produced
  • Condition of the wound bed
  • Patient’s level of tolerance for pain
  • The need for a secondary dressing

Silver dressings for wounds provide sustained release of silver over several days. This reduces frequency of dressing change thus making these dressings cost effective. The Medline Optifoam silver antimicrobial foam dressing can be left in place for up to a week and may be used as a primary or secondary dressing.

When to use silver dressings?

  • Diabetic ulcers
  • Donor sites
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Venous ulcers /foot/ leg ulcers
  • Partial-thickness burn /second-degree burn
  • Surgical/post-operative wounds
  • Superficial burn/first-degree burn
  • Partial/full thickness wounds
  • Acute/traumatic wounds
  • Laceration/abrasion
  • Full-thickness burn/third-degree burn /graft wound
  • Moderate-to-high exudate wounds
  • Low-to-moderate exudate wound
  • Arterial ulcers
  • Superficial or low exudate wounds

Types of silver dressings

There are a variety of silver wound dressings with a number of wound-friendly features. These include anti-microbial silver dressings, absorbent silver dressings for wounds, foam silver dressings, adherent silver wound dressings, non-adherent silver dressings, silver dressings with alginate, hydrofiber silver dressings, hydrogel silver dressings (Silvasorb Gel) and more.

The Aquacel ribbon dressing from ConvaTec has a combination of hydrofiber technology with ionic silver which makes the dressing highly absorbent, along with favorable gelling characteristics and broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity.

The Optifoam silver sacral foam dressing is conformable and can manage repeated bacteria introduction. Its waterproof outer layer protects wound and keeps bacteria out and moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR) adjusts to fluid level. The Allevyn dressing from Smith & Nephew prevents healing tissue from growing into the dressing thus reducing pain on removal and maintaining a moist wound interface. It promotes rapid wound closure, reduced risk of maceration and provides an effective barrier to bacteria penetration.

Other Useful Links
Role of Silver Dressing in Healing
Uses of silver in prevention of Infections