Years ago, people were told to open any wounded regions all over the body to free air in order to promote healing. However, numerous research found out that moist-based wound care is generally more advised that this dry wound care, in that the former promotes more proper environment for faster skin cells growth and thus, skin regeneration. As a result, certain wound types get more benefits when treated with hydrogel wound dressing.
What is hydrogel wound dressing?
Hydrogel dressing has been widely used throughout medical world. This is perceived as one of the most essential wound dressing among some other types. Hydrogel dressing started to be developed in 1950s and is made of 90% water in a gel base, which gives various benefits to the wound site. This kind of wound dressing is commonly clear or translucent, which varies in sizes and thickness. There are three general forms of hydrogel wound dressing:
- Amorphous hydrogel—the free-flowing gel, which is packed in tubes, foil packages, or spray bottles.
- Impregnated hydrogel—gel, which is saturated onto a gauzed pad, nonwoven spongy ropes or strips.
- Sheet hydrogel—hydrogel that is held together by a thin fiber mesh. This type of hydrogel wound dressing is available with and without the adhesive borders.
What benefits are given by hydrogel wound dressing?
Hydrogel dressings become very popular and practical regarding some benefits it provides for the wound site and the patient, which are very helpful during the wound healing period. Highlighted benefits are as follow:
Hydrogel dressing is designed to hold sufficient moisture in the superficial layer of the wound site. This is thus, provides an ideal environment for proper and easier wound cleaning and pain management. As a result, granulation and formation of necrotic tissues can be decreased, so that the entire healing period id simplified.
Since hydrogel dressings are 90% water-based, it gives a comfortable soothing effect to the wound site. It is very essential for severe wounds or if the patient has got another health complication, such as diabetes. This soothing effect commonly lasts for at least six hours, which is very helpful for the patient.
Hydrogel wound dressing has high moisture content, which is beneficial in providing a barrier for infections. This content helps inhibit bacteria and oxygen from reaching the wound, so that bacterial infestation can be minimized.
Hydrogel dressings that are non-adhesive to the wound or the tissues minimize the caused pain. In addition, since hydrogen gel varies in sizes, it is easier to find one that is suitable to the wound site size.
When to use hydrogel wound dressing
Hydrogel wound dressing is in fact, very practical and thus, is widely used for either small to large wounds, as its size can be easily adjusted. Some wounds that might heal faster when dressed using hydrogel include:
- Wounds which are very dry or necrotic wounds, such as superficial abrasions, severe scrapes, and scratches. Hydrogel helps improve this type of wound as it provides sufficient hydration that helps with skin moisture retention and effective healing. If the wound site is over-drying, it is possible for the scabs to form excessively, delaying the entire healing.
- Partial or full-thickness lesions. Since hydrogel dressing does not stick or allow the necrotic tissue to slough off during the healing process, it promotes faster healing process.
- Minor burns. Although minor, burns almost always cause excruciating pain and tenderness to the skin. Hydrogels are helpful for minor burns in that it provides soothing effect to the wound site.
- Wounds that create cavities or depressions in the skin. Hydrogels are fibrous and contains glycerin, which promotes faster cell regeneration. Applying the gel for depressed wounds will likely to improve the tissue growth and minimize the risk of having a dented healed wound site.
How to use hydrogel wound dressing
Knowing what kinds of wounds that are benefited by hydrogel wound dressing is helpful for the entire healing process. To promote faster healing, though, proper application of the dressing is not less important. Keep reading to see some tips, considerations, and steps on applying and using hydrogel for your wounds.
- Hydrogel should not be used for wounds which have already been extremely moist or displaying heavy exudate.
- Before applying hydrogel, you can dab a thin layer of antibiotic ointment onto the wound.
- Take the hydrogel with the size matching to the wound intended to be covered. Put it onto the wound bed carefully, covering all the region of the wound.
- It is advised to cover the applied hydrogel with breathable cotton gauze. When not covered, hydrogel may easily be dehydrated easily, so that the benefits are limited. Covering applied hydrogel with a cotton gauze also help secure it and keep it in place during the healing.
- It is advised to change the hydrogel dressing every four days or less if the wound oozes a lot. It is important, so that the gel will not get too attached to the wound site.
Removing an applied hydrogel
Knowing how to remove the applied hydrogel before changing it with a new one is also crucial, as improper removal techniques may end up in re-bleeding wound, which delays healing. These are what you need to do when removing an applied hydrogel from the wound bed.
- If you are using an amorphous type of hydrogel dressing, rinse of the excess of the hydrogel from the wound bed with saline solution or a wound cleanser before applying another one.
- If you are using an impregnated gauze or sheet hydrogel, soak the covering bandage or gauze with saline solution first to make it easier to pull off the hydrogel. To remove the dressing, lift the edge up and pull it back carefully.
- Clean the wound with saline solution before putting on a new dressing and always clean your hands thoroughly before doing any of these procedures to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination.