What is Foam Dressing?

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  • Written By: J. Airman
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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Foam dressing is a type of bandage that provides the protection and airflow necessary to speed wound healing. The porous foam surface of the bandaging material creates a moist environment that allows the body to heal itself naturally. Medical-grade plastic polymer foams are used to create foam dressings of various sizes and thicknesses to provide adequate coverage for most skin injuries. Some foam dressing products are in prepared sizes that come complete with a self-adhesive fabric or plastic outer layer that holds the foam onto the wound and is fully breathable. Other foam dressing products are packaged separately in rolls or square pads that can be custom trimmed for individual needs and attached with flexible medical tape.

A healing wound generally requires regular bandage changes and cleaning to grow new tissue and avoid the risk of infection. When a wound is left completely exposed between cleanings, it may quickly dry out and form a hard, painful scab. Keeping the wound moist with a foam dressing makes it much less painful to peel away the old layers when they need to be replaced. Air passing through foam dressing regulates moisture levels at the wound site to promote healing and prevent tissue damage in the surrounding areas. Tiny holes in the foam work as an air filter to keep debris and microscopic particulate matter out of the wound and let fresh air in.


People living active lifestyles often favor foam dressing materials because of their durability and ease of use. Foam dressings are waterproof and safe to wear in the shower or during exercise, as they dry out quickly after getting wet. The strong and flexible foam stays in place and provides constant protection to areas of the body that are in motion. Injuries on or near joints, where skin is pulled and twisted by movement, are often protected by foam dressing bandages. The resilient foam material moves with the skin without tearing or pulling away and exposing the wound.

Disposable foam dressings are an inexpensive and sanitary way to care for a wound. Some foam dressings come with an antibacterial agent already applied to them that helps prevent bacterial growth inside the bandage. Foam dressing should always be left sealed in the manufacturer's original packaging until just prior to application so contamination is avoided. Thicker foam dressings offer a layer of cushioning that can make accidental contact with the wound site less painful.


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Post 2

@pastanaga - I quite like the idea of using foam dressings as well. It makes me think of the science fiction medical science we've been seeing on TV for years.

Apparently they aren't too far off being able to apply a kind of foam dressing with real skin cells in it to wounds like burns, which will be able to heal much faster.

This is the kind of wound healing dressing that we've been waiting for that can be used in the field to make sure that people live after disasters, or even that poor people who can't afford extensive treatment in third world countries will be able to receive a cheap, effective treatment.

Post 1
Wow, if foam dressings can be used in the shower I would be all for them. My mother recently had a pacemaker put in and one of the most difficult things for her afterwards was not being able to shower properly as she wasn't allowed to get the dressing wet.

She also wasn't allowed to use the arm on that side, which made everything much more difficult.

If she had a dressing which could be used in a shower she could have been much more comfortable and would probably have not fretted as much as she did. Plus, having clean skin around a wound seems like a good idea in general anyway.

I hope this kind of dressing becomes more common, as it sounds like an excellent alternative to traditional dressings.

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