A Guide To Selecting The Right Dressings For Wounds

Clinical Editor: Kazu Suzuki, DPM, CWS


What kind of antimicrobial dressing do you use?


Dr. Suzuki uses a lot of silver-based dressings, such as Mepilex Ag (Molnlycke) or Aquacel Ag (Convatec). He also frequently uses the Sorbact (BSN Medical) dressing, which is a plastic mesh with antimicrobial coating. Dr. Suzuki says Sorbact is inexpensive in comparison to silver dressings.

   Dr. Steinberg uses a variety of antimicrobial dressings. He often uses oxidized regenerated cellulose/collagen/silver topical dressing materials as an adjunct when applying bioengineered alternative tissue grafts in the clinic. Dr. Steinberg also likes to use a silver containing foam dressing, citing its ability to provide a moisture balance in the wound environment

   If he does use antimicrobial dressings, Dr. Bell uses one of the following: silver impregnated alginate, cadexomer iodine or antibiotic-saturated alginates. Dr. Suzuki will use the iodine-based antimicrobial Iodosorb gel and Iodoflex pads (Smith & Nephew).

   When trying to “clean up” an especially foul smelling or dirty wound, Dr. Bell may moisten or saturate an alginate dressing with Dakin’s solution, which he uses until the situation becomes more stable. He does not use Dakin’s solution to “promote granulation” but to reduce the bacterial burden in an extreme situation.

   When trying to manage a wound with persistent biofilm or a heavy bacterial burden/multiple organisms including methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Dr. Bell may use a saturated alginate dressing once daily with a triple antibiotic solution of gentamicin-clindamycin-polymyxin (GCP solution). He has found this to be a great adjunct to concurrent oral or IV antibiotic therapy.

   Dr. Suzuki also says medical honey products, such as Medihoney (Derma Sciences) and TheraHoney gel (Medline), have excellent antimicrobial properties. Dr. Steinberg also cites success with the medical honey containing dressings, finding no allergy concerns with this class of dressing even in highly sensitive patient populations.
However, Dr. Suzuki cautions that, although rare, he has had patients with silver and iodine allergies.


Do you have any favorite new dressings at the moment?


Dr. Steinberg is involved in a current multicenter clinical trial that involves a negative pressure wound therapy dressing with the addition of a wound irrigation system. As he notes, this system allows one to treat open surgical wounds with topical agents such as saline, acetic acid and detergents. Dr. Steinberg says this technological advance may prove to decrease biofilm and wound base colonization between surgeries and wound healing phases.

   Dr. Suzuki and his colleagues have been using the latest iteration of Allevyn foam dressing, the Allevyn Life series (Smith & Nephew) “and we are very impressed by it.” He notes the dressing stays on the skin very well because it has very wide adhesive borders in comparison to most bordered dressings. Dr. Suzuki says Allevyn also features silicone adhesive (leaving no iatrogenic skin tears when removing the dressings) and a contoured foam pad. He notes this dressing doesn’t leave a skin mark and folds around the body part well. Dr. Bell notes that silicone materials have reduced trauma during dressing removal, can facilitate overall comfort and help decrease shearing in pressure ulcers.

   Dr. Suzuki has also tried Drawtex dressing (SteadMed Medical), a hydroconductive dressing that actively “draws” wound drainage and absorbs it very well. He notes one can layer the Drawtex dressings on top of another to increase the fluid absorption. Dr. Suzuki says one cannot replicate this feature with conventional foam dressings.

   In contrast, Dr. Bell notes the lack of any real recent technological breakthroughs when it comes to dressings.

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