So, What Do I Put on This Wound? The Wound Dressing Puzzle: Part III

Cynthia A. Worley


Dermatology Nursing. 2005;17(4):299-300. 

In This Article

Transparent Films

These dressings are thin layers of polymer membranes coated on one side with acrylic adhesives. The adhesive becomes deactivated by moisture and will not stick to the wound surface or periwound skin. They are impervious to liquids and bacteria but are permeable to oxygen and water vapor (measured by moisture vapor transmission rate [MVTR]). High MVTR films have breathing rates of 3,000 g/m2/day of water and above. Traditional films have an MVTR of 400 to 800 g/m2/day. They can be used on a wide variety of wounds and can be used as either primary or secondary dressings.

These dressings are very versatile and can be used on almost any type of wound from intravenous sites, burns, necrotic wounds, and prophylaxis on high-risk skin. They are easy to apply and conformable.

Because transparent films manage wound drainage by MVTR, they are not absorbent and are not recommended for moderately-to-heavily draining wounds as a primary dressing. The adhesive is strong enough to adhere well to intact skin and frequent removal can result in skin stripping and tearing. The thinness of these dressings usually requires a multi-stage delivery system, involving removal of various pieces of paper backing at various times for good application. They can be very difficult to apply with only one hand. As with most modern dressings, they are contraindicated for use in third-degree burns.

Blisterfilm® (Kendall), Mefilm® (Molnlycke Health Care), Op-Site™ (Smith & Nephew, Inc.), Tegaderm™ (3M Health Care).


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