Interactive Wound Care Products to 2026

Interactive wound care products are biocompatible products that are intended to actively promote wound healing by interacting either directly or indirectly with wound tissues. They help create and maintain a moist environment for healing. These dressings may also reduce the bio-burden, improve wound bed moisture retention, remove cellular products or provide improved protection for the epithelializing wound bed.

Interactive dressings include Films, Foams, and Hydrogels.

Films.

Film dressings are basically thin, flexible sheets of clear polyurethane with an adhesive coating on the edges of one side to allow the dressing to stick to the dry skin surrounding the wound. The adhesive reacts with wound exudate to prevent adhesion to the wound bed. These dressings are highly elastic and conformable to body contours and are suitable for use either as a primary or secondary dressing. They are often used to cover IV sites, donor sites, lacerations, abrasions and second-degree burns and are available in a wide variety of sizes. The dressings are transparent, so they allow the HCP to directly view the wound. This allows the HCP to spot problems such as necrosis more quickly than if the wound were covered by a non-transparent dressing.

Leading suppliers are Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), 3M Health Care (3M), Smith & Nephew (S&N), and Cardinal Health, in that order.

Foams.

Foam dressings are effective as sheets and other shapes, with polyurethane typically serving as the foamed polymer. This material has many small, open cells which are capable of holding exudates. Clinicians use foam dressings for use on partial- and full-thickness wounds.

Wound product manufacturers create foam dressings by combining or layering them with other components, such as additional layers of gauze or bacteriostatic materials. Bacteriostatic foam dressings prevent wound bed infection by inhibiting the growth of bacteria. Such foam dressings work well for almost any type of wound, including burns, post-surgical incisions, skin donor sites, skin ulcers and others.

Among the interactive wound products, foams will demonstrate the highest sales growth through 2026. The compound annual growth rate will be just under 10%. Top players are, in order, S&N, 3M, Mölnlycke, and Convatec.

Hydrogels.

Hydrogels come in three basic varieties: amorphous, impregnated and sheets. The intended use of hydrogel dressings of any kind is to add moisture to a wound and keep it moist. Different types and shapes allow clinicians to improve wound healing by providing moisture to just about any type of wound. This includes difficult-to-treat tunneling wounds. For purposes of analysis, the hydrogel market segment combines all three types of hydrogels.

Amorphous hydrogel dressings contain water, polymers and other ingredients, and have no set shape (i.e., they are free-flowing). The product can slowly seep into all the crannies in the wound, which is especially important in the case of puncture or other deep wounds. Clinicians normally cover amorphous hydrogel normally with a secondary dressing to keep it in place.

Wound manufacturers prepare impregnated hydrogel dressings by adding an amorphous gel to a gauze pad, rope or gauze strips. These not only provide a high amount of moisture and effectively treat necrotic wounds, deep wounds with tunneling and sinus tracts.  Sheet hydrogels suspend the hydrogel inside a thin mesh, allowing the dressing to overlap onto healthy skin without harming it.

The leaders globally in hydrogel dressing are, ranked, JNJ, S&N, Cardinal Health, and Hartmann.

The exhibit below shows the relative sizes of the global interactive wound care products market through 2026.

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report S254.

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

Wound management regional growth (“rest of north america”)

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From Report S251 (see global analysis and the above detail for Americas (with detail for U.S., Rest of North America and Latin America), Europe (United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Rest of Europe), Asia/Pacific (Japan, Korea, and Rest of Asia/Pacific) and Rest of World.

Do you wish to see excerpts from “Worldwide Wound Management, Forecast to 2024: Established and Emerging Products, Technologies and Markets”?

Wound Management Product Growth, Up and Down, to 2016

Excerpt from MedMarket Diligence report #S245, “Worldwide Wound Management, 2007-2016.” See link for more information. Available for purchase online.

Wound Management Market Growth by Segments, 2007-2016Technologies developed and in use for the management of acute and chronic wounds have diversified from traditional dressings, bandages and wound closure techniques to include an increasing number of diverse technologies ranging from tissue engineering, growth factors, physical therapies (e.g., negative pressure) and others. Traditional dressings and bandages have evolved to contain more active elements contributing to wound healing, with products including films, hydrocolloids, foams, alginates, hydrogels, non-adherents and antimicrobials. Wound closure is a specific area of intense development and market growth beyond traditional suturing and more recent stapling technologies and has seen proliferation and high market growth for surgical sealants, glues and hemostasis products.

The size of the worldwide wound management market is ultimately driven by the clinical need for advanced wound management products. That need is most clearly reflected in the prevalence of chronic wounds and burns. Current estimates put the total annual incidence of chronic wounds at almost 9 million worldwide, and there are 177 million cases of diabetes worldwide; 10-15% of diabetic patients will develop ulcers at some point. The market for products used in the management of venous stasis (as in chronic venous ulcers) is put at over $3 billion, while the decubitus ulcer (e.g., bedsores) market is in excess of $2 billion. Sales of products used to treat diabetic foot ulcers are estimated around $1.5 billion, and the market for burns dressings is approximately $60 million.

It should be noted that a large proportion of worldwide wound product sales are accounted for by traditional types of wound management products. An estimated two-thirds of the world’s physicians are not making routine use of advanced wound management products, with availability playing only a minor role in limiting their use. Conversely, while the U.S. healthcare market is characterized by an almost overindulgent attitude toward new technologies, U.S. physicians are much more conservative in their approach to advanced wound healing technologies than their European counterparts. For this reason, the European share of the advanced wound care market is significantly higher than the U.S. share.

Market Growth in Wound Management Product Segments
Until recently, the product categories with most growth potential were alginates and foams; both have substantial shares of the total market and both are set to increase their shares substantially between 2007 and 2016. Hydrocolloids had a considerable market share in 2007 but their star is in decline; it is anticipated that they will lose several percentage points in the market share table by 2016. (Segment growth in chart from MedMarket Diligence report #S245, “Worldwide Wound Management, 2007-2016,” publishing November 2007. See link for description, table of contents.)

The most significant market entrants are growth factors and, even more dramatically, physical therapies – specifically, negative pressure (also known as VAC therapy) devices. This market sector grew from a small base to gain $1.2 billion by 2007 and is set to capture an estimated 20% of the advanced woundcare market by 2016.

Films, antimicrobials and non-adherent dressings will maintain steady growth although their shares of a vigorously expanding market will decline.


Report #S245, “Worldwide Wound Management” is available for purchase online or via Google Checkout, below.