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What is Hydrocolloid Dressing?

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1533 E 4th St,

Santa Ana, CA 92701

Hydrocolloid Dressing wound careA hydrocolloid dressing is applied to a wound in order to provide a healing environment that is both moist and insulating. These dressings should be used on wounds that are clean and infection-free. If the wound meets these two criteria, the hydrocolloid dressing provides excellent healing as it protects the wound from becoming infected while at the same time, it utilizes our body’s own enzymes to progress wound healing. In other words, these dressings can stave off infection by both keeping the wound protected and by thwarting any possible infections from growing by using the body’s natural processes. A benefit of hydrocolloid dressings is that they don’t need to be changed very often. As opposed to other wound care dressings, the hydrocolloid dressing is considered to be unique for how long it lasts. They are also easy to apply. 

Some Facts about Hydrocolloid Dressing:

  • Made of a wafer-textured material
  • Inside are gel-forming agents that help with the body’s natural enzymes to promote healing
  • Waterproof, usually composed of polyurethane
  • Comes in a variety of shapes, textures and thicknesses
  • Great for dressing areas like the elbow and heels, which are usually harder to dress
  • Either adhesive or nonadhesive, depending on your needs

When are Hydrocolloid Dressings appropriate?

Before applying this type of dressing, assess the wound. Does the wound fit the criteria below? If so, hydrocolloid dressing may be appropriate. 

  • Is the wound clean and uninfected?
  • Do you notice dirt or debris around the wound? Can you clean it out? 
  • Is the wound dry? Do you notice any drainage? 
  • Is the wound medium thickness?

Because this dressing is flexible and water-resistant, it’s great for molding around the wound. It provides insulation, which allows the body to heal the wound naturally, without an excess of energy being dispelled to do so. If the wound has recently healed, use of a hydrocolloid dressing is warranted because it protects from surface trauma. It’s also a great protectant for partially healed wounds with granulation tissue. 

How do you apply Hydrocolloid Dressing?

Hydrocolloid Dressing wound care ocWhen applying hydrocolloid dressing, it’s important to note that it’s similar to the procedure you’d use for most other wound care. For best practices, follow these steps: 

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Put on a pair of disposable gloves to protect from germs.
  3. Remove and discard any existing wound dressing. 
  4. Use warm water and saline or another gentle cleanser to clean the wound. 
  5. Take a clean piece of gauze or clean washcloth and pat the wound dry. 
  6. Take a piece of hydrocolloid dressing that is at least an inch larger than the wound. Warm it in your hands to give it a better chance of getting sticky, thus adhering better. 
  7. Take the back off the dressing and fold it in half. 
  8. Figure out where the center of the wound is and apply the dressing beginning in that center, outwards. Smooth with your fingers. 
  9. If the dressing isn’t adhesive you’ll need to take a few pieces of surgical tape to fasten it in place. 
  10. Discard any waste that was produced during this process, such as scraps from the dressing or the gloves you just used.  
  11. You’ve just applied your hydrocolloid dressing, now the thing to keep in mind is how long the dressing can remain. This type of dressing lasts longer than most others, usually from 3 to 7 days. 

What are the benefits of using Hydrocolloid Dressing?

Hydrocolloid dressings are long lasting and need to be applied less frequently than other types of dressings. They are also easy to apply. This type of dressing is considered to be flexible because it comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and textures, making it a convenient dressing for many different types of wounds. 

This type of dressing can provide faster healing because it activates the body’s healing enzymes. At the same time, bacteria and other contaminants can’t pass through the layers in these dressings. In other words, these dressings help the body heal and also prevent contamination from coming in. They don’t stick to the wound and are flexible to mold. 

While there are many benefits to this type of dressing, there are also a few disadvantages, like the fact that hydrocolloid dressing is not for every type of wound. Specifically, diabetics should use them sparingly. If there is any sign of infection, they shouldn’t be used. If there is heavy exudate, they shouldn’t be used. 

Hydrocolloid Dressing for those with Diabetes

Hydrocolloid Dressing wound care orange countyFor individuals with diabetes, use of hydrocolloid dressing should be cautious. That’s because diabetic wounds can quickly become infected or chronic if not attended to properly. Even if the wound is properly looked after, diabetes increases the risk of infection enormously. This is especially so with foot wounds. If you are diabetic and have a wound, use a hydrocolloid dressing only if: 

  • You’ve been looked at by a wound care specialist and they’ve deemed the wound to be superficial. 
  • You’ve had the wound assessed by another medical professional and it appears to be superficial, without any sign of infection (and without any increased risk of infection.)
  • If there is exudate, or drainage, it’s low to moderate. You don’t want to have too much drainage when applying this type of dressing.
  • You change the dressing frequently. Under normal circumstances, this dressing doesn’t need to be changed often, but in the case of a diabetic wound it should be. 
  • You’re not showing signs of ischemia, which occurs when your body isn’t getting enough blood or oxygen to the limbs. 

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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