Wounds can be dressed in all sorts of ways. Choosing the right type of dressing means protecting your wound from bacteria and accelerating the healing process. Foam dressings are one such category of dressing that can be used in a variety of clinical applications. This type of dressing is especially effective for healing moist wounds, preventing trauma to the wound, managing exudate, and minimizing the discomfort and pain that often come with other types of dressing.
What are the Features of Foam Dressing?
Foam dressings are made of semipermeable polyurethane and foamed polymer. The foam contains tiny open cells that are made to hold fluid. You or your wound care specialist may decide to optimize this dressing by layering it with other materials in order to accelerate healing even further. For example, you can use antimicrobial agents, like Manuka honey, silver, or cadexomer iodine. You could also get foam dressing that contains more traditional antibiotics or surfactants. Any of these additives are great for accelerating healing to the wound bed.
One varying feature of foam dressing is its rate of absorption. Thicker foam dressings are more absorptive, while thinner dressings are less absorptive. If you need a foam dressing that’s easy to remove, go for the nonadherent type. You could also go for the type with an adhesive border, which is more similar to traditional bandaging. Foam dressing comes in many different sizes and shapes. They can be worn for between one and seven days, depending on the amount of exudate in the wound.
Why Use Foam Dressing?
The biggest reason to use foam dressing is to help maintain a moist wound environment. Foam is also good at cushioning the wound and periwound from trauma. An added benefit is the fact that foam provides thermal insulation for wounds. This is good if you need to keep a wound warm.
If the reasons above don’t seem good enough to use foam dressing, consider this: foam is easy to apply and easy to remove. Plus, as we said above, they don’t cause any additional trauma to the wound. You can apply foam dressing at any point, even when you think a wound may be infected or during compression therapy. A final feature of foam dressing we’ll highlight is their compatibility with enzymatic debridement agents.
When to use Foam Dressing
If you have a wound with lots of exudate, foam dressings are great. They’re actually great for wounds with anywhere from minimal to heavy exudate. This dressing is usually used on partial and/or full-thickness wounds. Here’s a full list of the types of wound foam dressing is great for:
- Wounds with heavy exudate
- Wounds with light exudate
- Wounds with soft necrotic tissue
- Leg ulcers
- Skin grafts
- Burns (NOT third degree)
- Surgical wounds
- Tracheostomy wounds
- Gastrostomy tubes
- Pressure ulcers
- When draining peristomal wounds
- Wounds that require Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT)
- Wound cavities
When NOT to Use Foam Dressing:
- Wounds with dry eschar
- Wound with no exudate
- Excessive exudate (because it may require excessive changing and could cause maceration to the periwound area)
- Non-draining wounds
- Third-degree burns
How to use Foam Dressing
Follow the proper procedure below if you’re looking to dress a wound with foam.
- First of all, foam is flexible. You can cut foam dressing to fit it to your wound, whether it’s a hand wound, toe wound, finger wound, ear wound, eye wound, etc. So, if needed, cut your foam to size.
- Wash your hands. Put on a pair of gloves.
- Clean the wound and periwound area with soap and water or saline solution.
- Using a sterile gauze, dry the skin thoroughly.
- Apply the foam dressing. Make sure the dressing extends an inch beyond the wound, at minimum. If your dressing has an adhesive border, you can close it easily, but if it doesn’t you’ll need to use a secondary dressing to secure the wound. You can use wraps or tape for this purpose.
- Change the dressing every one to seven days, depending on how the wound is healing and the amount of exudate on the wound. Always peel the foam dressing away carefully. Make sure to clean the wound thoroughly and apply new dressing if needed.
Foam dressings are great because they’re truly flexible, allowing for a wide variety of clinical applications. This type of dressing can be used on so many different types of wound, from those with minimal exudate to wound with a heavy flow. They’re very easy to use and can easily be cut to size. It’s a great wound care choice for so many different situations.
Visit Wound Care OC for all of your Wound Care needs
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.