A seismic shift in wound care management favors moist healing for treatment of chronic wounds, such as venous leg ulcers, pressure ulcers and diabetic foot ulcers. A moist wound bed promotes the body’s natural process of healing and tissue growth. Moist wound healing maintains an isolated moist wound environment through the application of moisture-retentive, occlusive and semi-occlusive dressings.
Moist wound dressings include foams, alginates, hydrocolloids, hydrogels, and transparent films.
Hydrocolloids are waterproof dressings that aid in the prevention of bacterial contamination. Hydrocolloids absorb exudate and protect the natural wound bed environment.
Hydrogels are hydrophilic gels that increase moisture at the wound site. Hydrogels rehydrate the wound bed and soften necrotic tissue.
Finally, transparent films are waterproof dressings that are semi-occlusive, meaning that water and gas can pass through them. They also provide a moist healing environment.
Providing the optimal wound environment includes wound cleansing and, as necessary, aggressive debridement. The topical wound management product chosen will depend on the wound's characteristics, including amount of drainage, size of the wound, the presence or absence of infection, and the characteristics of the surrounding skin. Moisture-retentive dressings should be selected for wounds with light to moderate drainage. Absorbent dressings should be selected for wounds with moderate to heavy exudate. New technologies, including skin substitutes, growth factors, and gene therapy, are the new wave of wound management products that researchers hope will expedite the wound healing process and improve the quality of life of wound care patients.
Last updated: 19-May-04