Frequently Asked Questions on Foam Dressing


What are foam dressings?

Foam dressings are made from semi-permeable polyurethane and are non-adherent and non-linting. They create a moist environment effective for healing of wounds. Foam dressings allow entry of moisture but keep bacteria and other contaminants away from the wound site. It is available in various shapes and sizes with an outer layer may be water proof or hydrophobic. Certain dressings possess adhesive tapes, or borders, across the edge so that application can be made with greater ease. Foam dressings are available in pads, sheets as well as cavity dressings.

When should I use foam dressings?

Foam dressings are meant for partial or full thickness wounds with moderate or greater drainage. This dressing type helps treat wounds with moderate amount of exudate such as abrasions, incisions, lacerations, pressure ulcers, infected wounds as well as draining peristomal wounds. It can be used either as a primary dressing or secondary dressing with the former more in direct contact with the wound and the latter used to cover the primary dressing.

How do I apply foam dressings?
  • Clean wound area with saline solution.
  • Dry surrounding skin with sterile piece of gauze.
  • Place dressing on wound at least one inch beyond wound edge.
  • Cover with secondary dressing in case of absence of an adhesive.
  • Use tapes to hold dressing in place.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of foam dressings?
Merits:
  • Offers a warm, moist environment most appropriate for healing. 
  • Provides cushioned protection to the wound site.
  • Acts as a barrier against bacteria.
  • Beneficial on infectious wounds.
  • Suitable for wounds with hypergranulation.
  • Can be used during compression therapy.
  • Provides ease in application and removal.
  • Can be cut to accommodate tubes.

Demerits:
  • Too dry on wounds with little exudate.
  • Risk of skin maceration if dressing gets too saturated with exudate. 
  • Inappropriate for third degree burns, sinus tracts or wounds with dry eschar. 
  • Can prove expensive in case of excess exudate which requires frequent dressing changes.
  • May require secondary dressing.