Non-Impregnated Gauze

Mercedes McCann posted this on May 9, 2020

Gauze is one of the primary and readily available wound dressings for wound care. So, when it comes to the approximate number of wound dressings, if you think that you can guess it, you might be wrong! Today, there are near about 3000 types of wound dressings that are in use for different stages of the healing process! Some of the other dressings are namely foams, hydrocolloids, composites, and so on.

This piece, however, concentrates on a single category – Gauze Dressings. To begin with, gauzes are the most traditional wound dressing ingredients. They broadly exist in two variants – Impregnated and Non-impregnated. A non-impregnated gauge is one that does not come saturated with any solution, emulsion, oil, or any other medicated agents. The more widely used gauges are the impregnated ones. Before entering a brief on the types of impregnations, let us broadly overview the different types of gauzes.

Broadly speaking, medical gauzes are of two variants - woven and non-woven. The primary attribute of gauzes that make them an integral part of most wound dressings is that they are permeable. Gauzes, therefore, have a high absorption rate and are non-occlusive. They can be used in combination with some other topical agents for better desiccation (that promotes wound drying) or so that the wound exudates less! Non-impregnated ones, however, are not inclusive of any such combinations.

How would you choose an appropriate medical gauze?

The rate of absorption in medical gauzes depends both on the material as well as the design. The materials in which gauzes are available are cotton, polyester, or rayon. Some of the variants of medical gauzes that are available are Sterile & Non-sterile, With or Without an adhesive border, and a few more. Alternatively, medical gauzes could be used to serve several purposes – cleansing the wound, packing, or solely for protective purposes! The selection of the gauze type is essential, since, appropriate choosing of wound dressing prevents chances of pain, infection, and potential damage too. The type of gauzes for wound dressing are – gauze pads, gauze rolls, gauze sponges, and gauze dressings. For an apt selection, you need first to investigate: Is the wound prone to infection?

If your wound is prone to infection, strictly adhere to the following:

• Use sterile gloves and do not touch anything non-sterile after putting on the gloves

• Keep dressing loose so that the site is free to breathe

• Check the amount your wound exudates. If that rate is high, your gauze needs to be changed more frequently!

• Depending on the cut or abrasion, the selection of the gauze type is recommended.

The most important element of distinction among gauzes is that whether they are woven or non-woven. Woven gauzes made of cotton fibers are the cheapest and the most popular dressing material. However, they aren’t meant for the primary dressing of heavily exuding wounds. They may either have a fine or a coarse mesh and hence, the sterile woven ones are used for secondary applications with wound-care impregnations.

The non-woven are mostly synthetic, non-fibrous ones and can maintain the same amount of aeration. Since they are softer, they are easy to pull out. They could be either dry or wet. The ‘wet’ ones are indeed impregnated with petrolatum, antiseptic, and some other antibacterial substance.

What kind of impregnations could be done to wet gauzes?

As already mentioned above, the common impregnations in wet gauzes are that of:

1. Petrolatum – This is a mineral oil jelly, commonly known as petroleum jelly that prevents wounds from drying out.

2. Saline gauze dressing – The saline content helps in moisture absorption. Thus, wounds that heavily exudate are given saline dressing.

3. Hydrogel gauze – Hydrogel nurtures damaged tissues and vessels in wounds and burnt areas. It helps in maintaining a moist environment too.

A sterile environment is conducive for quick healing and the gauze size is equally important. It should adequately cover the wound for the dressing to function efficiently.

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