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Comparison between Hydrocolloid Dressings and Traditional Gauze Dressings

The emergence of hydrocolloid dressings

In the process of wound management, there are many different types of dressings, and one of the most commonly used is the hydrocolloid dressing. It not only can be used alone, but also often used in conjunction with other dressings to create an excellent environment for wound protection in clinical settings.

A wound refers to the destruction of the integrity of the skin tissue, often accompanied by the loss of some body substances. According to the healing time of the wound, it can be divided into acute wounds and chronic wounds. Acute wounds refer to wounds that form suddenly and heal relatively quickly, such as minor abrasions, lacerations, cuts, burns, surgical wounds in the early stages, etc. Chronic wounds refer to skin tissue injuries that take more than 8 weeks to heal, such as ulcerative wounds (pressure ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, venous leg ulcers, arterial leg ulcers, chronic radiation injuries), deep burns or scalds, granulation tissue wounds formed by trauma, etc. Traditionally, the most commonly used wound dressing in clinical practice and daily life is gauze. However, compared with hydrocolloid dressings, gauze dressings have more serious drawbacks.

Hydrocolloid dressings vs gauze dressings

The advantages of gauze dressings: 

  • Can protect the wound and reduce bacterial invasion; 

  • Simple application, suitable for various types of wounds, most widely used in clinical settings;

  • Gauze is cheap and can be used by people with different levels of consumption.

The disadvantages of gauze dressings: 

  • The barrier function of gauze is poor, making it easy for bacteria to invade the wound; 

  • The granulation tissue of the wound is easy to grow into the net of the gauze, causing pain when changing the dressing and damaging new tissue; 

  • There is no obvious promotion effect on wound healing; 

  • The dressing is sticky and can cause pain and secondary trauma when changing it for damaged wounds.

The hydrocolloid dressing is made of a low allergenic hydrophilic adhesive and polyurethane or polyurethane foam that comes into contact with the wound. The hydrophilic high polymer used is usually carboxymethyl cellulose. In addition, hydrocolloid dressings are easy to cut to fit anatomical sites for optimal effect.

The advantages of hydrocolloid dressings:

  • It keeps the wound moist and creates a low oxygen and slightly acidic environment, accelerating wound healing;

  • It has a self-dissolving debridement function and can dissolve fibrinogen;

  • It has a greater and faster absorption rate. The improved internal structure of the hydrocolloid dressing includes carboxymethyl cellulose particles that have the ability to absorb small to medium amounts of exudate;

  • It forms a gel to protect exposed nerve endings, reduce pain, and not cause mechanical damage.

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