Dressings for chronic wounds


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jennifer Gloeckner Powers, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, Vanderbilt University, 719 Thompson Lane, Suite 26300, Nashville, TN 37204, or email: jennifer.powers@vanderbilt.edu.


Covering wounds, acute and chronic, is one of the most fundamental activities of any medical practitioner. Although wound dressings primarily serve to contain the “good” and keep out the “bad,” research has characterized more specifically the sophisticated interaction between the human wound bed and its dressing counterpart. Wound dressings for today's chronic wounds come in many flavors, ranging from the classic types of moisture-retentive dressings to silver-coated varieties to biologic dressings serving as skin substitutes. Moisture-retentive dressing types include foams, films, hydrogels, hydrocolloids, and alginates. Appropriate use of these dressings can help to keep the wound bed moist, which allows for epithelial migration, angiogenesis, retention of growth factors, autolytic debridement, and maintenance of electrical gradients.