All About Hydrocolloid Plasters

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Author : trummed medical
Update time : 2023-03-16 15:40:42

All About Hydrocolloid Plasters

  Dressings are a crucial part of the wound healing process. By covering scrapes, cuts, or burns, plasters also enhance healing as well as prevent wound infection and scarring. However, there is a large variety of plaster types so you may be wondering which one to use. Choosing the right plaster for the right wound is important, so read on to learn more about how hydrocolloid dressings work.

What are hydrocolloid plasters?

  Hydrocolloid plasters are opaque or transparent dressings for wounds that are biodegradable and breathable. They are designed to promote wound healing without breaking down the tissue beneath them or causing a softening of the skin. They absorb the fluids and protect wounds from external bacteria, preventing infection.

  The term “hydrocolloid” refers to the specially formulated ingredients that turn to a gel when they mix with liquids. So, when a hydrocolloid plaster is secured over a wound, such as a burn or a blister, a gel forms as the wound begins to heal, maintaining a moist, clean environment that will help the skin beneath to regenerate.

  Hydrocolloid plasters are also called burn plasters, or blister plasters. The plasters feature a thin, discreet film which secures smoothly to skin. They have a breathable waterproof backing that stretches and flexes with movement to protect wounds from water and germs. They are secured in place with a low-allergy adhesive which minimises the risk of an allergic reaction when applied.

  What makes the hydrocolloid bandages unique is the fact that they don’t have to be changed as often and they are easy to apply. They are also available in a variety of shapes and thicknesses, come with or without an adhesive border and are designed for difficult-to-dress wound areas like heels and elbows.

When to use hydrocolloid plasters?

  Hydrocolloid plasters are suitable for hydrating and they can be used on surgical wounds, abrasions, and minor burns. Due to their occlusive property, they can cover the nerve endings for thicker wounds and reduce pain. You can also use this plaster type for clean or uninfected wounds, and for medium-thickness wounds.before you choose a hydrocolloid dressing you should assess the amount of exudate.

When to not use a hydrocolloid dressing?

  Hydrocolloid dressings are suitable for a variety of wounds, but not for every wound. They are absorbent to a point, so they must not be used for wounds with a big amount of exudate. Instead, they are ideal for partial to full-thickness wounds with low amounts of exudate.

Exudate is a fluid that leaks out of blood vessels into nearby tissues.

Hydrocolloid plasters should also not be used in wounds that need frequent inspection as it will be difficult to check the wound without removing the dressing. Avoid using them on infected wounds and wounds that need drainage too.

How to apply hydrocolloid plasters?

● Firstly, wash your hands and put gloves on to reduce the risk of infection.

● Use a new pair of gloves and remove any previous dressings you had on the wound.

● Clean the wound with Elastoplast Wound Spray or saline and pat the wound dry with clean gauze.

● Check the size of the dressing and ensure it overlaps the edges of the wound by 3cm. If the dressing is too small, this can cause leakage. In contrast, if it’s too large it can cause maceration to the skin around the wound.

● Avoid overstretching the wound and don’t apply much pressure for better application as this might cause breaks on the surrounding skin or skin trauma.

● Remove the backing from the dressing, fold the dressing in half, and apply it.

● Consider using adhesive tape if the hydrocolloid bandage does not have its own border.

Hydrocolloid plasters benefits

  Hydrocolloid dressings have various benefits compared to other types of plasters. While they can be more expensive than other plasters, they last longer so don’t need to be changed as often, which saves you money. Other benefits of hydrocolloid dressings include:

● They reduce the risk of infection by providing a barrier against bacteria from the environment.

● They facilitate the body’s breakdown of damaged tissue.

● They maintain an acidic pH level in the wound, which reduces bacterial growth.

● They encourage the formation of collagen and connective tissue.

● They maintain a consistent temperature around the wound.

How often should you change a hydrocolloid plaster?

  A hydrocolloid plaster usually lasts between 3 to 7 days. A good indication to know when to change the dressing is by seeing how far it has come up from the edges of the wound. However, this is not standard. So if you wonder how long you should leave a hydrocolloid dressing on, you should check it’s at least 70% full with wound exudate

You won’t necessarily need to clean the wound often because hydrocolloid dressings keep the wound moist and protected. When you notice the hydrocolloid patches turning white, that’s because the material absorbs the fluid from the wound.

How to remove a hydrocolloid dressing?

  Follow the below steps to safely remove a hydrocolloid plaster from the wound, without damaging the skin.

● Press down on the skin around the edges of the dressing and then lift up the adhesive.

● Keep lifting around the edges so all the adhesive is free from the skin.

● Carefully peel the dressing away from the wound in the direction of hair growth, ensuring you don’t touch the wound and slow the healing process.

● If a new dressing is required, reapply one by following the steps described above.

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