Contact layer
This layer is important in that it covers and protects the wound, but then you should be able to easily and safely remove it without causing trauma. Examples include Adaptic™ Touch, Mepitel®, Restore® contact layers. The contact layer should overlap the wound by 1cm to reduce risk of sticking to outer bandages should this layer shift. In absence of infection, these dressings can be left for several days. More sturdy skin may be able to tolerate use of cheaper paraffin gauze or Adaptic™ non adhering but these are more prone to dry out and may cause problem with removal.

There are a variety of different dressings that can be used for different types of wounds:
  • In wounds with more exudate eg denuded wounds, other dressings are used primarily their powers of absorption.
    • Foams offer protection, and are lightly absorbent. Bordered foams may cause damage in those with very fragile skin. Examples include Allevyn®, Biatin®, PolyMem®.
    • Alginates are moderately absorbent and turn into a gel when loaded with fluid.
    • These have no antimicrobial action by themselves, thus apply antimicrobial ointment beforehand if necessary.
  • Hydrogels are moisturizing and thus are good for dry, crusted wounds, but then contraindicated in exudative or infected wounds.
Layers of conforming gauze are wrapped over the contact layer, and then secured with either a tubular retention dressing eg Surgilast, Tubifast™, or a cohesive bandage such as Peha-Haft® or Coban™.
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