Is the wound wet or dry?

How much drainage is there?

If you changed a gauze or abdominal pad would the dressing after 12 hours be...

  1. dry
  2. slightly wet
  3. moderately wet
  4. completely saturated

Why is a moist environment important?

"In a moist environment exudate provides the cells involved in wound repair with nutrients, controls infection, and provides the best environment for healing."29


a. Dry

The goal to heal this wound would involve increasing the moisture in the wound bed and debriding the slough (if present) by using:

A Hydrogel in the wound bed eg. Intrasite Gel or Duoderm Gel.

If the amount of exudate expected is scant to moderate, then consider covering it with a moisture-retentive dressing eg. Alldress.

This dressing can stay on for up to 3 days

If the amount of exudate expected is moderate to large, then consider covering it with a foam dressing eg. Mepilex Border & Allevyn.

This dressing can stay on for up to 7 days.

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b. Slightly Wet

The goal to heal this wound is to maintain the moist environment and aid debridement of the slough (if present) by using:

  1. a moisture-retentive dressing and a hydrogel eg. Alldress & Intrasite Gel.

    This dressing can stay on for up to 3 days

  2. a foam dressing with hydrogel may also be used if excess exudate is expected from debridement eg. Mepilex Border, Allevyn & Intrasite Gel.

    This dressing can stay on for up to 7 days

  3. a hydrocolloid eg. 3M Tegasorb Hydrocolloid.

    This dressing can stay on for up to 7 days

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c. Moderately Wet

The goal to heal this wound is to maintain a moist environment by absorbing the excess exudate and to aid in the debridement of slough (if present) by using:

  1. foam dressings eg. Allevyn or Mepilex Border.

    These dressings can stay on for up to 7 days.

  2. hydrocolloid eg. 3M Tegasorb Hydrocolloid and 3M Tegaderm Absorbent Clear Acrylic dressings.

    This dressing can stay on for up to 7 days.

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d. Completely Saturated

The goal to heal this wound would to be to control the excess exudate and aid in the debridement of slough (if present) by using:

  1. Hydrofibre eg. Aquacel

  2. Calcium Alginate eg. Kaltostat (Kaltostat also has hemostatic properties that will help stop bleeding) Calcicare

The choice of cover dressing will depend on the amount of excess exudate and how often the dressing needs to be changed.

Alldress, Mepilex Border, Allevyn, or gauze and abdominal pads.

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LHSCHealth Professionals


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Last Updated February 1, 2009 | © 2007, LHSC, London Ontario Canada