Hydrogel is a remarkably advanced material with medical purposes. The word hydrogel means technically a gel composed of water. Hydrogel dressings are capable of absorbing up to 99% liquid. The dressing swells as it takes on fluid, but does not break down when saturated.
Hydrogel reacts much like human tissue making it ideal for wound dressings. Hydrogel is such a versatile material that it has been used as a component in transplants. According to one United States patent, hydrogel material was used in the design of an artificial spinal disk. The hydrogel became the nucleus of the spinal disk in this design.
Much of hydrogels intrigue lies in the crystalline make-up of the smart material. Hydrogel is a smart substance because it can determine changes in environmental factors: moisture levels, bacteria, and ph levels. The hydrogel will react accordingly in response to those environmental changes. This reaction could be in the form of releasing medicines into the wound or quickly capturing wound drainage.
Hydrogel has a natural soothing feeling on a wound, because it creates a unique damp barrier that moisturizes a wounds surface. This environment is ideal for burns, dermal ulcers, scars, and other very dry wounds. The different types of hydrogel dressings are specifically designed for a variety of uses.
Some hydrogel dressings utilize the natural flexibility of hydrogel materials. The Flexigel dressing can absorb up to five times its weight in fluid and still remain affective. The lightweight Flexigel hydrogel sheeting is air permeable for breathability.
MediHoney is a new brand of hydrogel wound dressing that is designed with or without an adhesive border. Medihoney’s primary use is treating burns. It is scheduled to become available in Spring of 2012.
The Spenco 2nd Skin Scar Gel is designed for treating scars. Unlike the MediHoney brand, the 2nd skin scar gel comes in the form of a spray bottle. This dressing can be applied in areas that a wound dressing pad would not be ideal, such as, the face and neck.
Spenco manufactures a variety of hydrogel products, but they are not all for scar relief. The Spenco 2nd Skin Circles Dressing is a solid dressing. The material consists of pre-cut small circles designed for blister, insect sting, and poison ivy relief.
Some other hydrogel dressings are stored in a tube, so that the ideal amount is applied directly to the wound. The Restore hydrogel dressing can be left in place up to 3 days when applied. The paste-like gel comes in a 3 oz. tube or impregnated into gauze sponges. The restore dressing is designed for partial or full thickness wounds.
Hydrogel is a multifaceted wound dressing because it flexes, absorbs, detects, and can be applied via spray, cream, or non-adhesive pads. The versatility of hydrogel allows there to be a dressing for many wound situations.