Hydrocolloid dressing

Hydrocolloid dressing

A hydrocolloid dressing (trade names include Duoderm[1], Granuflex[2], and 3M Tegaderm Hydrocolloid) is an opaque dressing used in medicine to provide a moist wound-healing environment, while protecting from contamination. Hydrocolloids were initially utilized in medicine as a reliable, skin-friendly adhesive, useful for securing colostomy appliances to the patient's abdomen[citation needed]. Clinicians observed that acute abdominal wounds from colostomy operations healed more rapidly when a hydrocolloid was used. It is biodegradeable, nonbreathable and adheres to the skin so no separate taping is needed.

The active surface of the dressing is coated with a cross-linked adhesive mass containing a dispersion of gelatin, pectin and carboxy-methylcellulose together with other polymers and adhesives forming a flexible wafer. In contact with wound exudate, the polysaccharides and other polymers absorb water and swell, forming a gel which is held within the structure of the adhesive matrix. The moist conditions produced under the dressing promote fibrinolysis, angiogenesis and wound healing, without causing softening and breaking down of tissue. The gel which is formed as a result of the absorption of wound exudate is not mobile and free running but held within the structure of the adhesive matrix. Most hydrocolloid dressings are waterproof, allowing normal washing and bathing. [2] Dressings may be used, under medical supervision, even where aerobic infection is present; the infection should be treated appropriately.

The dressing is applied to a cleaned wound. It helps wounds to heal faster. Many people like to apply these patches on the face in order to heal acne. They are also used to secure nasogastric tubes or CPAP masks to the patient's face, without causing skin irritation. Hydrocolloid dressings are often used to heal bedsores (also known as pressure ulcers).[citation needed]

It can also be used in the treatment of eczema, where it can seal steroid ointment underneath and allow it to work more effectively, as well as providing a barrier to prevent the patient from scratching.

As well as promoting healing, hydrocolloid dressings provide great comfort to the patient, as this type of wound is often extremely uncomfortable and an added layer of protection is soothing.

Hydrocolloid dressings are useful in drawing out liquids from granulating (open) wounds. Some are also suitable for use on wounds with dry slough or necrosis; the dressing rehydrates the dead tissue, which is then removed by autolysis[2].


The results of a meta-analysis indicate no significant difference in healing rates between hydrocolloid dressings and simple, low-adherent dressings when used beneath compression for healing venous leg ulcers.[3]


  1. ^ Surgical Materials Testing Laboratory Dressings Datacard: Duoderm extra thin
  2. ^ a b c Surgical Materials Testing Laboratory Dressings Datacard: Bordered Granuflex
  3. ^ Cochrane Collaboration metareview: Dressings for healing venous leg ulcers

External links

"They are also used to secure nasogastric tubes or CPAP masks to the patient's face, without causing skin irritation". The FDA MAUDE website (Manufacturers and Users Device Events) reports that Duoderm has an allergic response in some patients and is used "off-label" by the manufacturer in a response to a reported event. [1]

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