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06 Jan 2017

Hydrocolloid can be described as a colloid system wherein the hydrophilic polymers are dispersed in water. Hydrocolloids are observed in different states depending on the quantity of water. They are:


     Gel (semi-solid)

     Solution (liquid)

Hydrocolloids can be



A few examples of hydrocolloids are xanthan gum, gum arabic, guar gum, locust bean gum, agar-agar, carrageenan, and pectin.

What are Hydrocolloid Dressings?

These can be referred to as powders, pastes or wafers containing Pectin, gelatin or carboxymethyl cellulose available in various shapes and sizes. The absorption capability varies on the basis of thickness and composition of the powder.  A hydrocolloid dressing is

     Self-adhering wafer

     Useful on areas that require contouring

     Indicated for partial and full thickness wounds

     Provider of moist healing environment and insulation

Wounds on which Hydrocolloid Dressing can be used

Commoners still have an ambiguous awareness about where to use a hydrocolloid dressing. Below mentioned are some suggestions of its use.

     Newly grown skin that has recently faced a trauma

     Clean, partial or full thickness wounds

     Dry wounds

     Necrotic wounds

Advantages of Hydrocolloid Dressings

Using this dressing can prove to very beneficial because of the following reasons:

   Self-adhesive: No need to use a secondary dressing to support it, available in both adhesive and non-adhesive format

     Molds easily: These dressings mold easily with the skin by adhering only to the intact part of the skin surrounding the wound

     Healing Environment: Provides optimum moist healing environment to the wound

     No disruption to the healing process: These can be worn for several days and hence give ample amount of time to the wound to get healed properly

     Easy to be applied

     Destroys contact between bacteria and the wound


Precautions while using a Hydrocolloid Dressing

Frequency: When used on wounds that produce a lot of exudate, or a lot of fluid, will cause the dressing to come loose. However, hydrocolloid dressings need to be changed every three to seven days, so if you find your dressing is coming loose after a couple of days, this may just mean new compound should be applied.

Application: Wear gloves and make sure the wound is clean and bacteria free. Warm the dressing before applying by holding it between hands- this increases the adhesive capability also. Apply the dressing by folding it in half lengthwise and from the center of the wound outward. Always see that the dressing should be at least an inch or two larger than the size of the wound. For removal, gently peel away from the edges in the direction of hair growth.

Always consult a doctor to judge whether or not your wound needs a hydrocolloid dressing.


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