Dressing a wound is one of the most vital parts in the field of medical specialty; from accidents to surgical procedures and other physical complications, proper wound care is a must for a healthy recovery. Wound dressings act as a catalyst in the complicated process of wound care and healing. Wound dressing products consist of a variety of components like gauze, sponges, ropes, bandages, chords, packing strips, etc. They are further divided according to their types and form factors i.e., cloth, foam, transparent, hydrocolloid, hydrogel, alginate, and collagen dressings. But in the medical world, the two main classifications of any wound care products are counted down to two distinctive features, as in non-impregnated (without any induced solution) and impregnated (with induced medicated solutions). Today, we will be discussing impregnated wound dressings – what they are, what they do, and who they are meant for.

1. Meaning

Impregnated wound dressing come saturated in a medicated solution or emulsion, in an oily or liquid/paste form. The emulsions usually consist of saline, petrolatum, oil, mineral salts (zinc, copper oxide, etc.), scarlet red, and xeroform. The majority of impregnated dressings are available in a non-adherent form.

2. Usage

The application of impregnated dressings is done in cases involving minor to major injuries like circumcisions, tunneling wounds, skin tears, clean or soiled graze, and abrasions. Specific surgical procedures use impregnated dressings like staple or suture lines, umbilical bandage, lacerations, wound with light exudation, perineal infections, ulcerated areas, and infections contracted from cesarean sections.

3. Safety

Primary safety benefits of impregnated wound care include a toxin and irritation-free desensitizing recovery of wounds. Using an impregnated product is a necessity in case of debriding an infected area due to its astounding biocompatibility and non-permeability. An impregnated variation of wound care products has significantly shown to reduce pain and trauma during the change of dressings more than a non-impregnated one does.

4. Durability

Unlike conventional dressings, impregnated wound dressings are easy to apply and only needs to be changed after 3 to 7 days. The extra protective layer keeps unnecessary moisture and germs at bay, preventing the wound from being further infected and dry of its exudations.

5. Comfort

Impregnated dressings have shown to have a significant effect on the extremity of a wound, especially in case of sensitive skin injuries i.e., radiation wounds or skin grafts. They play a crucial role in angiogenesis and stabilizing extracellular skin proteins, along with stimulating the wound repair with their biocidal effects. Furthermore, dressings having transparent or porous properties that allow a wound to have better moisture evaporation, along with providing a contamination barrier. The polyester impregnated dressings allow a cozy placement due to the ability to adhere to any skin contour, preventing edema while remaining germ-free and permeable for 5-7 days straight.

There are other variations of impregnated dressings, some of which allow to capture required moisture with an absorbent gel, or by providing wound support with a hypoallergenic coating and pain reduction - one can find a specific dressing ideally suited for every purpose.

6. Types

a. Impregnated Hydrocolloid Dressings: A dressing consisting of hydrophilic colloid particles bonded with polyurethane foam, impermeable to contaminants and bacteria.

b. Impregnated Hydrogel Dressings: Glycerin or water-based, consists of 80% - 90% liquid saturation on a cross-linked, non-adherent polymer.

c. Impregnated Alginate Dressings: Non-woven, cellulose like fibers, mainly constructed out of brown seaweed. Forms a soft gel when mixed with an exudation.

d. Impregnated Hydrofiber Dressings: Build properties similar to an alginate dressing, supplemented by sodium carboxymethylcellulose. Creates a soft gel after interacting with an exudation.

e. Impregnated Antimicrobial Dressings: Cadexomer Iodine impregnation; engineered to provide maximum protection against bacteria and a reduced bacterial load on an already infected wound with an immediate and controlled release.

f. Impregnated Silver Dressings: Ionic silver impregnation with a quick and controlled release; available in transparent films, hydrocolloids, hydrogels, foams, alginates, hydrofibers, and other composites.

7. Advantages

a. Impregnated Hydrocolloid Dressings: Available in numerous shapes, forms, sizes, and thicknesses. It offers moderate to minimal absorption, pain reduction, autolytic debridement facilitation. Self-Adherent, thermally insulated and requires fewer changes due to long durability (3-5 days).

b. Impregnated Hydrogel Dressings: Allows fast wound bed rehydration and pain reduction. Highly effective on infected wounds along with topical medication. It provides autolytic debridement and requires to be changed daily. Easy to remove and apply.

c. Impregnated Alginate Dressings: Nonocclusive and highly absorptive with an inbuilt hemostatic property. Reduced changing frequency along with a trauma-free removal. Available in sheets, ropes, and other composite dressings.

d. Impregnated Hydrofiber Dressings: High absorption rate, infrequent changing, available in ribbons and sheet forms; trauma-free removal.

e. Impregnated Antimicrobial Dressings: Reduced risk of infections.

f. Impregnated Silver Dressings: Prevents growth of pathogens (especially antibiotic-resistant strains); Pocket-friendly antimicrobial action for up to a week or more.

8. Disadvantages

a. Impregnated Hydrocolloid Dressings: It might be challenging to remove. Produces an infection-like odor without the presence of any infection and might leave residual layers on the wound after removal. Not recommended for wounds with heavy exudation, fragile skin or sinus tracts. Check package instructions for contraindications.

b. Impregnated Hydrogel Dressings: Needs to be secured with a secondary dressing due to non-adherence. Not recommended for wounds with massive exudation, might soften the wound skin due to high absorption rate.

c. Impregnated Alginate Dressings: Might give off a distinctive odor during dressing change. Contraindications include dry slough, severe burns, heavy bleeding, surgical implantations, and non-exudating wounds.

d. Impregnated Hydrofiber Dressings: Needs to be secured with a secondary dressing. Contraindications include dry slough, severe burns, heavy bleeding, and surgical implantations.

e. Impregnated Antimicrobial Dressings: Non-adherent, hence, needs to be secured with a secondary dressing. Not applicable for patients having iodine allergy.

f. Impregnated Silver Dressings: Not suitable for patients having a silver allergy. Removal and cleaning are a must before magnetic resonance imaging; secondary dressing might be required; topical medications are not to be used with silver infused dressings. The peri-wound tissue might stain or discolor due to silver oxidization.

Make sure to consult with your physician before opting for a wound control product; several components might induce an allergic effect on the patient, worsening the situation further than it was before. Always buy medical products from an authenticated, authorized medicinal product supplier to prevent further complications – here is an assorted stock of impregnated wound dressing products to start your day with ease.

Remember – Happiness is nothing but good health and freedom.