Before we look into wound dressing, we need to have a basic understanding of what is wound exudate and how it is an important element that needs to be considered in wound healing.
What is wound exudate?
In a wound, the early stage of healing is the inflammatory process, where the capillaries become more permeable resulting in fluid entering the wound. This fluid which enters the wound is called wound exudate. For optimal wound healing, a moist environment at the wound bed is necessary. Wound exudate plays an essential role: to provide a moist wound bed and a supply of necessary nutrients.
Normally, wound exudate reduces over time. In a diabetic wound where there is an ongoing inflammatory process, this exudate may continue and become too much or may become too little. In a suboptimal wound environment, the healing process will be delayed. It is therefore important to assess wound exudates to manage wound successfully. The main method to maintaining and managing the wound environment is through the use of appropriate wound dressings and topical agents.
What is wound dressing?
An ideal wound dressing can remove excessive wound exudate and aid in homeostasis at the wound bed. There are two main types of wound dressing: the primary dressing which is the first that comes into direct contact with the wound bed, and the secondary dressing which is used to cover, secure and protect the primary dressing.
Which dressing is suitable for your wound?
There is a variety of wound dressings available with a wide range of physical performance characteristics (such as size, adhesion, conformability and fluid handling properties). To choose which one is ideal for your wound, our podiatrists will need to carry out wound assessment prior to treatment and take into account factors such as wound location, the extent of the wound (size/depth), exudate amount and type, wound tissue type and surrounding skin condition. This will help the podiatrist to effectively choose the appropriate wound dressing for you, in order to achieve an optimal moist environment at the wound bed.
How often do you need to change your dressing?
The frequency of dressing changes will depend on how heavy the wound exudate is, and the type of wound dressing. Normally your podiatrists will advise you to keep the dressing on until your next visit. This is to eliminate wound exposure from the environment outside. In the case where the dressings need to be changed at home, you should follow your podiatrist’s instructions accordingly to minimise exposure of wound bed to the environment and contaminants.