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What is Alginate Dressing?

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1533 E 4th St,

Santa Ana, CA 92701

Alginate Dressing wound careAlginate is a type of wound care dressing that’s been produced for at least fifty years and has been manufactured for commercial use since the early 1980s. The material is biodegradable, as it’s made of seaweed derivatives and fiber, which are harvested around the globe. When compared to other modern wound dressings, alginate is underused. The reason for this may be that it’s not as well documented or studied as other types of dressings, though it is gaining in popularity. 

What is Alginate Dressing composed of? 

In the earliest days of alginate dressing, it was made simply from the fibers of calcium alginate. In recent years they’ve made alginate dressings stronger during the manufacturing process by entangling the fibers, thus creating a thicker and more tough fabric. When the dressing comes into contact with blood or exudate, it’s able to soak them right up and still remain strong. That’s because this type of dressing is able to absorb 20-times its own weight in exudate or blood. When the dressing’s exudate capacity is filled, that’s when you replace it with a new one. 

The dressing can be made into a host of different products like ropes, ribbons, and flat sheets. Each has its own benefit for being used. If packing a cavity wound, the best dressing to use is rope or ribbon dressing. If you’re dealing with a surface wound, use flat sheets. These products are usually adhesive but can also come in nonadhesive and would then need to be wrapped in surgical tape in order to secure properly. 

To improve gelling or stability when dressing the wound, sodium alginate or freeze-dried alginate can be used in tandem with the dressing. Figuring out which type of gel to use will rely on assessing the M, G, and MG groups within the alginate. M represents mannuronate, while G stands for guluronate. These get covalently linked into what are called blocks: M-blocks and G-blocks. Antimicrobial materials can be added to alginate dressing as well, in order to improve its healing ability. Perhaps you’ll see alginate dressing with added zinc, calcium or silver. But this type of dressing should only be used with a prescription and for a short period of time – a maximum of 14 days is what’s recommended. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the best outcome.

How do Alginate Dressings help with healing?

This is an excellent question because alginate dressings do a great job assisting the body with its natural healing process. Usually, this type of dressing is used when there is a heavy flow of blood or exudate. What happens is, the dressing is loaded with calcium ions and the wound, through the body’s natural healing process, is loaded with sodium ions. These combine together and form a reaction. As a result, the fibers in the dressing partially dissolve into a healing gel by swelling into place. The amount the dressing swells is dependent on its chemical composition. 

What type of Wound is ideal for the application of an Alginate Dressing?

When it comes to alginate dressing, it can help with a bunch of wound situations. Generally, this type of dressing is good for any type of wound that requires maximum absorption. Also, it’s good for sloughy wounds or wounds that produce a moderate to heavy flow of exudate because it protects the wound with a moisturous seal, which prevents it from drying out. This helps the wound heal more quickly, because, as you may already know, moist wounds heal faster than dry wounds. Use alginate dressing for any of the wound situations below. Of course you should consult with your doctor or wound care specialist if your wound is considered to be chronic or if you are a diabetic

  • Ulcers, including diabetic ulcers, foot ulcers, pressure ulcers and venous leg ulcers
  • Deep wounds or cavity wounds
  • Post-operative wounds or surgical wounds
  • Trauma wounds
  • Partial thickness burns

How long does Alginate Dressing last? 

Alginate Dressing wound care ocFor the most part, you can use alginate dressing for up to a week. You’ll need to change the dressing whenever the exudate capacity is reached, so if that occurs before the week is up, you still have to change it. In the case of chronic or infected wounds, daily monitoring is necessary. 

What’s the procedure for using Alginate Dressing?

Using alginate dressing is easy and straightforward. You always want to employ best practices, so make sure you’re following each step for its necessary role in wound care. 

  1. Clean and wash your hands. 
  2. Put on a pair of sterile gloves. 
  3. Clean the wound with saline or another type of wound cleanser. 
  4. Pat dry using a clean washcloth or brand new gauze. 
  5. Apply the alginate dressing.
  6. Apply a second alginate dressing if necessary. 
  7. Change the dressing when the exudate capacity is met OR within one week’s time.  
  8. For easy removal, you’ll need to dampen the dressing first. This helps so as not to damage the wound bed or granulation tissue. The best and most effective way to wet the wound is with saline. Once the dressing is off, give the wound another rinse with some more saline. 

What are the Benefits of Alginate Dressing? 

The most obvious benefit of alginate dressing is that it is super absorbant. It also helps the body with the healing process by promoting quick, efficient healing and by protecting the affected area from bacterial infection. Also, alginate dressing is natural and biodegradable. It’s made with components from nature, including seaweed and algae. The last benefit of alginate dressing is that it’s easy to use. It’s super easy to apply and flexible when catering to a wound. 

Are there any Contraindications?

When is alginate dressing not appropriate for wound treatment? If the wound isn’t bloody enough (as in, there is minimal exudate) alginate dressing isn’t preferable. You can always add moisture or gel to speed along the recovery process, but, keep in mind, dry wounds just aren’t what alginate dressing is made for. They shouldn’t be used in the case of third-degree burns or to dress a surgical implantation. If a person is allergic to any of the components of the dressing, don’t use it. Patients should be cautious if using this type of dressing on tumors. If the patient has an exposed blood vessel don’t use alginate because it can actually make the vessel bleed more.

Why use Alginate Dressing

Alginate Dressing wound care orange countyAlginate dressing is probably the least well-known and well-used of all the dressings on the block. That said, it may be a great choice on a variety of different wound types, including those that require absorbent dressing. Alginate dressings is becoming more an more widely used as people, patients, and wound care providers get information on it and how it can help people heal. 

Visit Wound Care OC

Contact Wound Care OC for wound treatment in Orange County, CA

Dr. Faried Banimahd is a board-certified physician specializing in emergency medicine, wound care, and pain management. Our team will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs and unique conditions. Our clinic includes highly trained and experienced physicians, registered nurses, and certified medical staff who work together to provide you with the highest standards of wound care treatments.

To make an appointment

1533 E 4th St,

Santa Ana, CA 92701

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