Wound dressings are advanced materials designed for securing sufficient healing of exterior wounds. These dressings have been around for a while, often containing hydrocolloids to be able to protect and absorb moist as well as increase the wound healing speed. I will give you a short overview of what types of wound dressings that are available and how microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) may give a new addition to this field of technology.
- Hydrocolloid: these are typically used to treat burn wounds and the like where there are light or moderate draining wounds
- Alginate: These are dressings made to cope with wounds that have moderate to high drainage
- Collagen: these are wound dressings created to typically treat chronic wounds
- Hydrogel: created to cope with wounds that have little or no drainage (also infected wounds).
The main areas where advanced medical treatment needs new and efficient wound dressing are ulcers, bedsores, diabetes sores, and burn wounds. If one can have a sterile carrier (e.g. surgical gauze) that efficiently puts the bacteria killer straight on the wound with no adverse effect, one may achieve new and dramatically better wound dressing. This will not only reduce the rate of bacterial strains becoming resistant, it will also increase the speed of healing and reduce hospitalization.
MFC in future wound dressing
Microfibrillated cellulose has many features that may lend itself to become the material of choice for this much needed medical development. It can easily be used as such as a hydrogel or as an intrinsic part of the cloth. MFC is heat and pH resistant to the extent that the basic carrier with MFC can easily be sterilized. MFC is also non allergenic and inert so one does not expect any limitations in use from that point of view.
MFC has superior mechanical properties and may therefore enhance the strength of the surgical gauze to the extent that one may obtain thinner and lighter bandages. The very good moisture retention capacity will keep the wounds moist longer, and hence speed up the growth of new skin tissue. Last but not least, MFC has good binding abilities so it is expected that the material will facilitate the fixing of the antibiotic or bacteriostatic so they do not go astray, and by that get exposed to the environment outside the direct wound where it is designed to go to work.
Research and development is still in its early stages regarding the study and understanding the use of MFC in wound dressing. Many factors indicate that MFC can open new perspectives into this very important area of medicine.
Harald Rønneberg is a senior Borregaard executive. He holds a PhD in synthetic organic chemistry from The Norwegian University of Science and Technology where he also for a number of years has been adjunct professor concurrent with his employment at Borregaard. He is Business Director at Exilva, Borregaard.
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