Interactive and bioactive wound dressings reflect the major thrust in advanced wound management developments — effective (i.e., complete and timely) wound healing demands active intervention to not just protect wounds from the elements, so to speak, but to drive processes that accelerate wound healing.
A wound is a dynamic setting in which a great number of activities are taking place and, if not actively managed, can go decidedly awry. Many factors influence the rate of wound healing and, in some cases, may actually turn acute wounds into chronic, non-healing wounds. These factors include mechanical stress, debris, temperature, dessication and macerations, infection, chemical stress, medication, and other extrinsic factors (e.g., alcohol abuse, smoking, radiation therapy and other) as well as the patient’s existing condition (e.g., health, age, body build, nutritional status, etc.).
Therefore, even if one only considers the products in the traditional category of wound care products — wound dressings — there is a considerable number of product types that have been developed to control these processes:
- film dressings — allow the passage of oxygen and moisture
- foam dressings — facilitate care of delicate wounds through less frequent changes
- hydrogels — provide benefits of moist wound healing and absorption of exudate, support autolytic debridement
- hydrocolloids — very absorbent for wounds with high exudate, support autolytic debridement
- alginates — conformable, provide high absorbency and support autolytic debridement
- anti-microbial dressings — provide moist wound healing without simultaneously stimulating growth of microbes
These products operate at the low end of the intervention scale by playing the projective role of traditional wound dressings, but in a dynamic way to facilitate and/or accelerate wound healing.
A step beyond wound dressings is the growing practice of effectively replacing the damaged tissues through homograft, allograft and other skin replacements and skin substitutes. These products may be used with or without cellular and tissue growth factors.
At the more extreme end of the scale are involved devices and equipment that aggressively alter the wound environment to accelerate healing — negative pressure wound therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, electrical stimulation and others.
Wound care is the subject of the 2013 MedMarket Diligence Report #S249, “Wound Management, Worldwide Market and Forecast to 2021: Established and Emerging Products, Technologies and Markets in the Americas, Europe, Asia/Pacific and Rest of World”, described in full at link.