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.