What is hydrocolloid dressing?


Quick Answer

According to registered nurse Nancy Morgan for Wound Care Advisor, hydrocolloid dressings are a type of moist bandage used for necrotic wounds. They consist of gel-forming polymers that absorb leaking fluids from the body by swelling into a gel-like mass. Hydrocolloid dressings vary in size, thickness and composition to treat a variety of wounds. They are self-adhesive.

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What is hydrocolloid dressing?
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Full Answer

Morgan explains that hydrocolloids are often used because they are easy to apply, do not need to be changed as often as other bandages, only adhere to the skin around the wound and not to the wound itself, and are impermeable to bacteria and other contaminants. Hydrocolloid dressings are often used to cover dry wounds, necrotic or granular wounds, non-infected wounds with light fluid drainage and to protect unbroken skin or a freshly healed wound.

Morgan notes that hydrocolloid dressings are not without their disadvantages. In certain instances, they may become dislodged from the wound if the wound begins to excrete too much fluid. The bandages may begin to peel or curl around the edges. They may damage delicate skin surrounding the wound if removed when the skin is not healed enough. Hydrocolloid dressings are often opaque, which means that medical staff may have a difficult time assessing the wound's progress if they cannot see it.

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