Medical Equipment Blog

Transparent Dressings Q & A

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What makes transparent dressings so popular in hospital and clinical settings as well as for home health care uses?
One of the major factors in choosing transparent dressings over other types of occlusive dressings in hospital and home health care settings is that the film of the dressing is considered to be semiocclusive, not fully occlusive. This allows the transparent dressing to both hold the exudate moisture close to the wound tissue and also allow some breathability over the wound area. It is important to keep in mind that although some moisture and some gases will pass through the film it is still designed to be impermeable to bacteria or water from the outside of the film.

The second major factor is that transparent dressings allow the health care professional to check on the wound and position the dressing without having to constantly remove and reposition the dressing. This is a time saver in many situations, especially for larger wounds or irregular shaped wounds that may be difficult to cover with standard dressings.

Are there any areas of the body that are not suitable for transparent dressing use to protect wounds?

Generally, transparent dressings can be used on any flat surface of the body where there is little or infrequent movement of the skin. They are excellent for the arms, legs and chest. They may not be as effective on the highly mobile parts of the body or body parts where a lot of friction occurs with patient movement. The elbows, knees, buttocks and lower back area can be problematic as movement will constantly pull at the adhesive and may cause the dressing to slip or pull off.

Can transparent dressings be used on all types of wounds?
Transparent dressings are good for the vast majority of low to moderate exudate wounds on flat surfaces of the body or areas of the body where there is no friction or high levels of movement. However, transparent dressings are not recommended when the wound is producing high levels of exudate. The exudate will become trapped under the transparent dressing and eventually loosen the adhesive that holds the dressing in place. The greater the amount of exudate produced the faster the adhesive will lose its ability to remain firmly affixed to the skin. In addition, if the skin around the wound begins to macerate due to excessive moisture at the wound surface a hydrocolloid, hydrogel or calcium alginate dressing may need to be added to the transparent dressing to keep fluid levels in check.

Are transparent dressings an option if there is necrotic tissue on the wound?

Like all types of dressings that allow moisture to remain on the wound, transparent dressings can be used with wounds with necrotic tissue. The retention of the moisture from low exudate wounds can actual help with the natural removal of the necrotic tissue during the recovery and healing processes. The semiocclusive property of the transparent dressing can help in lowering the risk of the necrotic tissue spreading.

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