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Application of Hydrocolloid Dressings in Chronic Ulcers of Limbs

In recent years, with the development of wet wound theory, various types of dressings for treating chronic wounds have gradually increased, and they have achieved good therapeutic effects in promoting chronic wound healing. As one of the clinically commonly used dressings, hydrocolloid dressings have also been widely used, from the initial treatment of pressure injuries, gradually expanding to the treatment of various skin and soft tissue injuries such as limb ulcers.

Understanding hydrocolloid dressing

Hydrocolloid dressing is a dressing containing sodium carboxymethylcellulose (CMC). The layer that comes into contact with the wound consists of pectin, gelatin, and CMC. The outer layer is made of polyurethane film. When the water gel comes into contact the wound, its components come into contact with the exudate, absorbing moisture and starting to expand into a gel, providing a closed moist healing environment for the wound.

Characteristics of hydrocolloid dressings: providing a moist healing environment, promoting autolysis debridement; able to form a slightly acidic environment conducive to the enzymatic desquamation effect; providing a thermal insulation layer for the wound, making the wound temperature close to body temperature; forming a hypoxic environment for the wound can promote the growth of capillaries and granulation tissue; sealing the wound, blocking bacterial invasion of the wound; and able to be used as an outer dressing for fixing.

Use of hydrocolloid dressing for chronic wounds

Hydrocolloid dressing is a new type of wound dressing developed based on the principle of moist healing. The absorbency and viscosity of water gel make it meet the basic requirements of an ideal dressing, protecting the wound, providing a suitable environment to promote wound healing, and easy to remove without damaging new tissue, reducing medical costs and easing patient pain. Hydrocolloid dressings can be used in the treatment of various wounds, especially for chronic wounds that are difficult to heal, reducing the time required for wound healing, and being suitable for the treatment of chronic granulation tissue wounds with good inflammation control.


  • Wounds with heavy exudate or active bleeding: Water gel absorbs fluid slowly, and is only suitable for wounds with small to moderate exudate, and cannot be used for rapidly large exudate or bleeding wounds.

  • Infected wounds: Although hydrocolloid dressings can be used to prevent infections, they should not be used for severely infected wounds due to their airtightness. They should only be used after infection control, and if inflammation worsens during use, it should be suspended. Wounds with a lot of secretions should be tested for bacterial culture of wound secretions.

  • Wounds with excessive granulation growth: Hydrocolloid dressings can promote the growth of granulation tissue. If excessive growth occurs, it should be suspended, or superfluous granulation tissue should be removed with a scalpel.

  • Cannot be used on exposed tendons or other tissue structures that easily lose moisture.

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