is a piece of material used either to support a medical device such as a dressing
, or on its own to provide support to the body. Bandages are available in a wide range of types, from generic cloth strips, to specialised shaped bandages designed for a specific limb or part of the body, although bandages can often be improvised as the situation demands, using clothing, blankets or other material.
In common speech, the word "bandage" is often used to mean a dressing, which is used directly on a wound, whereas a bandage is technically only used to support a dressing, and not directly on a wound.
Types of bandage
The most common type of bandage is the gauze bandage, a simple woven strip of material which can come in any number of widths and lengths. A gauze bandage can be used for almost any bandage application, including holding a dressing in place.
The term 'compression bandage' describes a wide variety of bandages with many different applications.
Short stretch compression bandages are applied to a limb (usually for treatment of lymphedema or venous ulcers). This type of bandage that is capable of shortening around the limb after application and is therefore not exerting ever-increasing pressure during inactivity. This dynamic is called resting pressure and is considered safe and comfortable for long-term treatment. Conversely, the stability of the bandage creates a very high resistance to stretch when pressure is applied through internal muscle contraction and joint movement. This force is called working pressure.
Long stretch compression bandages have long stretch properties, meaning their high compressive power can be easily adjusted. However, they also have a very high resting pressure and must be removed at night or if the patient is in a resting position.
A triangular bandage is a piece of cloth cut into a right-angled triangle. This is felt by many trainers to be the most versatile of the bandages available, as it can be used fully unrolled as a sling, folded as a normal bandage, or for specialist bandages such as on the head. Has various sizes.
A tube bandage is applied using an applicator, and is woven in a continuous circle. It is used to hold dressings or splints on to limbs, or to provide support to sprains and strains, and it stops the bleeding.