Hydrofiber dressings are a relatively new concept in dressings, and can be very cost effective because they can be worn for several days at a time. In this article, we will explore how and when these dressings can be used.
Hydrofiber dressings gel upon contact with moisture, locking in fluid that is absorbed by the dressing. In this manner, they help to maintain a moisture balance in the wound bed that is not too wet or too dry, protecting the edges of wounds from becoming macerated. They provide a passive method of wound control by filling in dead spaces where bacteria tend to proliferate. The addition of silver to some of these dressings can provide antimicrobial protection for infected wounds. The main component of these dressings is sodium carboxymethylcellulose. These dressings may come in a sterile, soft non-woven pad or as a ribbon dressing.
- Partial thickness burns
- Diabetic foot/leg ulcers
- Pressure ulcers
- Traumatic wounds
- Surgical wounds left to heal by secondary intention
- Hydrofiber dressings containing silver should not be used on those patients sensitive to silver
- Not compatible with oil-based products, such as petrolatum jelly
- Can be used with compression bandages
- Can be used on dry wounds (wet with sterile normal saline)
- Conforms to irregularly shaped wounds easily
- Comfortable for the patient to wear
- Easy to remove; painless and does not damage granulating wound tissue
- Can be worn for several days, therefore these dressings can be quite cost-effective
- Helps to balance the inflammatory response
- The addition of silver provides sustained antimicrobial response over time
- Secondary dressing may be needed for wound that are highly exudative i.e. oncologic wounds
Hydrofiber dressings have been shown to be effective in the management of both acute and chronic wounds, as well as wounds that are infected.
For dry wounds, the dressing should be moistened with sterile normal saline, and then an occlusive dressing that traps moisture should be applied as a secondary dressing, such as a transparent film. For wounds that are extremely moist, a secondary dressing to “catch” any excess fluid should be applied.
Bowler, P., Jones, S., Parsons, D. & Walker, M. (2004). Microbial properties of a silver-containing hydrofiber dressing against a variety of burn wound pathogens. Burn Care Rehabilitation, Mar-Apr; 25(2), pg. 192-196.
This article on the use of hydrofiber dressings continues our series on dressings types and use. We hope that you find these articles informative. Perhaps, as you read these articles, you will discover that you have an interest in becoming certified as a wound care specialist. If so, please visit WoundEducators.com to find out more about how you can take the next step in becoming an expert in wound care management.