Traditional and Advanced Wound Product Types

Wound management technologies have been under development for hundreds of years. The current state of product and technology development is now largely represented by thirteen different product categories described with their specific typical applications (1)Specific companies and products are detailed in “Wound Management to 2026”, report S254.

Wound Management Technologies By Type

Wound product categoryDescriptionPotential applicationsProduct and Manufacturer Examples
Traditional GauzeInexpensive, common, breathable, usually dries out the wound, may stick to wound causing damage when removedMay be used to secure a dressing in place, or directly over any wound type to keep it clean while allowing aeration.See link
Traditional AdherentDry, inexpensive, common, non-absorbent, will not stick to wound. Usually uses a wide mesh material with a finer mesh or foam, nonstick material.Applied directly to wound; used for large surface wounds such as abrasions or burns. Indicated when a good granulation bed has developed.

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Traditional Non-AdherentConforms to wound, keeps wound bed moist, will not stick to the surface of wound.Light to moderately exudative wounds, burns.

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FilmAvailable as adhesive, thin transparent polyurethane film, and as a dressing with a low adherent pad attached to the film.Clean, dry wounds, minimal exudate; also used to cover and secure underlying absorptive dressing, and on hard-to-bandage locations, such as heel.

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FoamPolyurethane foam dressing available in sheets or in cavity filling shapes. Some foam dressings have a semipermeable, waterproof layer as the outer layer of the dressingEnables a moist wound environment for healing. Used to clean granulating wounds with moderate to severe exudation.

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HydrogelColloids that consist of polymers that expand in water. Available in gels, sheets, hydrogel impregnated dressings.Provides moist wound environment to add moisture to dry wound, aids in cell migration, reduces pain, helps to rehydrate eschar. Used on dry, sloughy or necrotic wounds.

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HydrocolloidMade of hydroactive or hydrophilic particles attached to a hydrophobic polymer. The hydrophilic particles absorb moisture from the wound, convert it to a gel at the interface with the wound. Conforms to wound surface; waterproof and bacteria proof.Gel formation at wound interface provides moist wound environment. Dry necrotic wounds, or for wounds with minimal exudate. Also used for granulating wounds.

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AlginateA natural polysaccharide derived from seaweed; available in a range of sizes, as well as in ribbons and ropes.Because highly absorbent, used for wounds with copious exudate. Can be used in rope form for packing exudative wound cavities or sinus tracts.

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AntimicrobialBoth silver and honey are used as antimicrobial elements in dressings.Silver: Requires wound to be moderately exudative to activate the silver, in order to be effective

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CollagenAvailable in several forms, including gels, pads, pastes, particles, sheets, solutions, and are derived from bovine, porcine or avian sources. Collagen dressings are often used for PUs, VLUs, skin donor sites and surgical wounds, arterial ulcers, DFUs, second-degree burns and trauma wounds.

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NPWTComputerized vacuum device applies continuous or intermittent negative or sub-atmospheric pressure to the wound surface. NPWT accelerates wound healing, reduces time to wound closure. Comes in both stationary and portable versions.May be used for traumatic acute wound, open amputations, open abdomen, etc. Seems to increase burn wound perfusion. Also used in management of DFUs. Contraindicated for arterial insufficiency ulcers. Contraindicated if necrotic tissue is present in over 30% of the wound.

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Bioengineered Skin & Skin SubstitutesBio-engineered skin and soft tissue substitutes may be derived from human tissue (autologous or allogeneic), xenographic, synthetic materials, or a composite of these materials.Burns, trauma wounds, DFUs, VLUs, pressure ulcers, postsurgical breast reconstruction, bullous diseases

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Growth FactorsOften derived from human placenta from a healthy delivery (i.e. amniotic tissue allografts) and amniotic fluid components.May be used for any type of wound, but most often used for chronic, non-healing wounds such as DFUs and VLUs, and potentially with second-degree burns.

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Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report S254.

References   [ + ]

1. Specific companies and products are detailed in “Wound Management to 2026”, report S254

Global wound care market segmentation best done one country at a time

In March 2018, MedMarket Diligence published its biennial report on the global wound care market, “Worldwide Wound Management, Forecast to 2026: Established and Emerging Products, Technologies and Markets in the Americas, Europe, Asia/Pacific and Rest of World.Details.


Markets for medical technologies work according to the forces in play where products sell. There is no “global market”, per se, but an amalgamation of far-flung markets where, in one country, a new technology is embraced, and in another it’s passe or taboo or too expensive or de rigueur.

Cultural differences regarding medicine can be significant. How the sick are treated socially, how wounds are considered, the value of an innovation — may all be viewed differently through local lenses.

Differences in effective sales and distribution can exist, particularly for new technologies, in technology-importing countries.

Regulatory differences can be HUGE.  Besides the timing of FDA PMA or 510(K) versus the CE mark for the same technology, the regulatory entities are not entirely in sync regarding approval for new technologies.

On the global playing field, all active players know that some countries sre better than others at allowing foreign conpetition.

Even well established products, like traditional wound products (gauze, adherent, non-adherent), remain less well established in emerging markets.

below are the shares of each country’s total wound market represented by each technology, for non-adherent dressings, adherent dressings, gauze dressings, NPWT, and antimicrobial wound products.

The  net effect on local markets? — Each country has greater/lesser relative demand for different technologies, without respect to overall market size.


Technology/Treatment Share of Country Total Wound Market

The balance of sales across different wound technologies varies by country, with different products accounting for greater or lesser shares of the total wound sales per country. Below are illustrated, for example, that non-adherent dressings account for a higher share of wound product sales in China than in all other countries.

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report S254.

Other traditional products like adherent dressings and gauze show a pattern of lesser use in the U.S., western European countries, and Japan.

Traditional gauze is a less significant component of the U.S. or Japan, both of which have rapidly adopted and instead use more advanced technologies.

Negative Pressure Wound Therapy, a more involved wound care technology, shows different patterns in demand across countries than other wound products.

The actual level of risk of infection, the perceived risk of infection, and the resulting differences in adoption of antimicrobials give rise to some different adoption than one might expect.

Markets for advanced wound care technologies, such bioengineered skin or growth factors (not shown), illustrates a common dynamic, with the highest country use being the U.S. and whose manufacturers have often pursued the U.S. market for new technology introduction, to be followed by Europe, Asia, South America, etc. as technology migrates to less well developed markets.

Other products in wound with their own country-to-country dynamics include film dressings, foam, hydrogel, hydrocolloid, alginate, collagen, and growth factors.


See Report #S254, published March 2018.