Wound Types and Dressings

By | April 26, 2017

Dressing type Properties


  • Dressings can stick to the wound surface and disrupt the wound bed when removed
  • Only use on minor wounds or as secondary dressings.




  • Dressing does not stick to wound surface
  • Suitable for flat, shallow wound
  • Useful in patient with sensitive skin

Semipermeable film


  • Sterile sheet of polyurethane coated with acrylic adhesive
  • Transparent allowing wound checks
  • Suitable for shallow wound with low exudate


Image result for hydrocolloids

  • Composed of carboxymethylcellulose, gelatin, pectin, elastomers and adhesives that turn into a gel when exudate is absorbed. This creates a warm, moist environment that promotes debridement and healing
  • Depending on the hydrocolloid dressing chosen can be used in wounds with light to heavy exudate, sloughing or granulating wounds
  • Available in many forms (adhesive or non-adhesive pad, paste, powder) but most commonly as self-adhesive pads


Image result for hydrogels

  • Composed mainly of water in a complex network or fibres that keep the polymer gel intact. Water is released to keep the wound moist
  • Used for necrotic or sloughy wound beds to rehydrate and remove dead tissue. Do not use for moderate to heavily exudating wounds


Image result for alginates dressing

  • Composed of calcium alginate (a seaweed component). When in contact with wound, calcium in the dressing is exchanged with sodium from wound fluid and this turns dressing into a gel that maintains a moist wound environment
  • Good for exudating wounds and helps in debridement of sloughing wounds
  • Do not use on low exudating wounds as this will cause dryness and scabbing
  • Dressing should be changed daily

Polyurethane or silicone foams

Image result for Polyurethane or silicone foams

  • Designed to absorb large amounts of exudates
  • Maintain a moist wound environment but are not as useful as alginates or hydrocolloids for debridement
  • Do not use on low exudating wounds as this will cause dryness and scabbing


Image result for hydrofibre

  • Soft non-woven pad or ribbon dressing made from sodium carboxymethylcellulose fibres
  • Interact with wound drainage to form a soft gel
  • Absorb exudate and provide a moist environment in a deep wound that needs packing


Image result for collagens dressing

  • Dressings come in pads, gels or particles
  • Promote the deposit of newly formed collagen in the wound bed
  • Absorb exudate and provide a moist environment

Wound type Dressing type 

Clean, medium-to-high exudate (epithelialising)

Image result for Clean, medium-to-high exudate (epithelialising)

  • Paraffin gauze
  • Knitted viscose primary dressing

Clean, dry, low exudate (epithelialising)


  • Absorbent perforated plastic film-faced dressing
  • Vapour-permeable adhesive film dressing

Clean, exudating (granulating)

  • Hydrocolloids
  • Foams
  • Alginates


  • Hydrocolloids
  • Hydrogels

Dry, necrotic

  • Hydrocolloids
  • Hydrogels

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