Dressings are one of the basic tools for wound management. Foam wound dressings have excellent fluid management and water vapor permeability, and have been widely used in wound management since the 1970s.
The first foam wound dressing product was silicone foam, which was introduced to the market in the 1970s and was used to treat cavity-type wounds. When used, two liquid polymers are mixed at the bedside and injected into the wound cavity to form foam that conforms to the shape of the wound. This type of dressing is complicated to use, requires daily replacement, and is prone to leaving debris.
The modern definition of foam wound dressings was introduced to the market in the mid-1970s. This foam is composed of polyurethane and becomes smooth after thermal treatment. It is mainly used for fluid management. Moreover, this dressing is insulating, does not shed fibers or particles, and has good gas permeability. In recent years, silicone-coated foam wound dressings have also appeared to reduce damage to the wound and skin as well as pain caused by dressing changes. There are also products containing silver, hydrophilic fibers, lipid hydrocolloids, and water-absorbing gels combined with foam to enhance fluid balance management. Foam wound dressings are generally soft and have good toughness and adaptability. They do not adhere to the wound and their main function is to absorb exudate and maintain a moist healing environment.
The main functions of foam wound dressings are to absorb and lock in exudate, provide high absorption and extend use time. Foam wound dressings have different sizes of pores that can absorb exudate from the wound bed and lock it in. The surface of the dressing is usually smooth and hydrophilic. Some products have larger-sized open pores, which can absorb and lock in debris and act as a debriding agent. Foam wound dressings are usually used for superficial wounds, and specialized cavity-type products can also be used for larger defects in cavity wounds. There are no obvious restrictions on the type of wound, and they can be used for various wounds, including lower limb ulcers (combined with pressure therapy), pressure ulcers, traumatic wounds, ostomies, tracheostomies, minor burns, skin grafts, donor sites, diabetic foot ulcers, and other exudative wounds.
Foam wound dressings are used for various acute and chronic wounds, especially wounds with high exudate; they can also be used for the prevention and care of pressure sores, diabetic feet, etc. Foam wound dressings are used for medium to high exudation wounds, and for the care of tracheostomy wounds and skin around the insertion site (air cut type).