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Thursday, January 20, 2011

What is Duoderm?(wound dressings)

Dear doctor, my husband has been bedridden for the past two years following an accident when he was hit by a drunk driver. He’s been having a bedsore for 3 months on his lower back. The doctor recently changed his wound dressing to Duoderm. Doc, what is Duoderm and will it help heal his wound? Thanks,

Clare P

Thank you very much Mrs Clare for the question. I am sorry your husband had this injury and is bedridden. To understand wound dressings better it will be helpful to go through our previous article where we described different wounds and what dressings to choose in order to heal them:

How to choose wound dressings? (Wounds, wound healing, wound dressings) - http://asktheburnsurgeon.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-to-choose-wound-dressings-wounds.html

Duoderm is a hydrocolloid dressing agent which is made up of microgranular suspension of natural and synthetic polymers like pectin or gelatine that is placed in an adhesive matrix. As the wound exudate is absorbed, the dressing granulates in the Duoderm changing from a semi hydrated state to a gel state. The wound is therefore kept moist all the time and this helps wound healing. The exudate is also absorbed so that frequent dressing changes are not required.

Duoderm is produced by Convatec and provided as sterile sheets which should be cut and applied over the wound. There should be an overlap of 2 cms beyond the skin margins- so that adhesive Duoderm will not allow exudate to pass through and no additional dressings are required before applying Duoderm. One must clean the wound thoroughly and pat the skin around to make it dry so that the Duoderm patch will adhere well. Duoderm is good for dry necrotic wounds or for wounds that have little exudate. It can also be applied over granulating wounds or small ulcerated areas that break down by repeated dressings.                                                   
Duoderm should be avoided in patients who have shown pervious allergy to it or its components. For dry or in very lightly exuding wounds, the dressing can be left in place for more than 3-5 days. If the exudate starts to leak, more frequent dressings will be needed.

There are other hydrocolloid dressings which work on a similar principle like:





When using Duoderm dressing, one should take care to see that the wound does not develop infection which may go unnoticed. If this happens, then one must use dressings with antimicrobial agents along with specific antibiotics if needed.
The application of Duoderm helps to keep the wound moist and promotes wound healing but as with all wound dressings deciding which dressing to apply over a particular wound is the most important factor that will determine if a wound will heal rapidly.

So Ms Clare I hope that your doctor has chosen the right wound dressing and that your husband’s wound will heal rapidly.

With best regards,

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