Sponges and Pads

Sponges and Pads

Wound Care Sponges and Pads

There are many types of supplies needed for the care of wounds. These may be surgical, traumatic, infective or other types of wounds. Sponges and pads are perhaps the most commonly used items for this purpose. What are they?

Sponges and pads are terms sometimes used interchangeably. However, there is a marked difference in their nature and properties. As the name suggests, sponges have more absorptive power and can be ideal in managing wounds that have more oozing of blood, pus or other body fluids. Sponges are also used for applying ointments or creams on the wound. The use of a pad or a sponge is usually determined by the type and state of the wound.

Materials commonly used for making sponges and pads include cotton, polyester or rayon. Some types are made with all these three in varying percentages depending on the manufacturer and targeted use. When purchasing gauze supplies, it is important to specify the type.

Some of the types of sponges and pads:

  • Woven gauze. This is made from cotton and has fair absorbing properties and does not leave strands and lint on the wound after removal.
  • Non-woven gauze pads. These are usually made of other materials other than cotton and are made by compression of fiber materials. They are bulky compared to woven gauze pads.
  • Sterile. These are a must during any form of surgical procedure.
  • Non-sterile. The sterility state is relative. Since the pads are made in highly hygienic conditions that must meet state requirements. Such pads are used in non-sterile wounds but not during surgical procedures.
  • Plain
  • Impregnated gauze pads. These pads contain different linings of therapeutic compounds for enhanced wound management. These can be antibiotic cream, iodine cream, petroleum jelly or other substances.
  • Non-adherent gauze pads. This type is easy to remove from a wound. Pads without this property adhere to the wound and cause pain, bruising and even bleeding during removal. They have to be irrigated with saline for easy removal but doing this can increase risk of infection and other wound complications.
  • X-ray detectable gauze pads and sponges. There is a risk of sponges and pads being left in the body where surgery involves hollow areas. If this is suspected, x-ray detectable gauze can be visualized easily and precision surgical removal easily carried out.
  • Perforated or non-perforated

Wound care pads and sponges are also classified according to their sizes which are made to fit the approximate size of the wound. The sizes range from as small as two by two inch gauze pad or sponge to as big as four by eight inches. Big traumatic or surgical wounds need the large size pads or sponges. Cutting a big pad or sponge to make smaller ones is not recommended because it creates loose fibers that contaminate the wound and cause delayed healing.

The number of layers (ply) is another thing to consider when purchasing wound sponges and pads. Wounds with more discharge need sponges with higher thickness.

There are many other types of pads and sponges in the market. If you are a health service provider or an end consumer, it is important to know the type of wound under consideration. One of the ways of knowing the best type of wound care pads and sponges is to ask your health care provider.

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