17.3 Antimicrobial dressings

The major roles for antimicrobial dressings in the management of wounds are to:

  • Reduce bioburden in acute or chronic wounds that are infected or are being prevented from healing by microorganisms
  • Act as an antimicrobial barrier for acute or chronic wounds at high risk of infection or re-infection

It is not appropriate to use anti-microbial dressings:

  • In the absence of signs of localised (overt or covert), spreading or systemic infection
  • Clean surgical wounds at low risk of infection e.g. donor sites, closed surgical wounds
  • Chronic wounds healing as expected according to co-morbidities and age
  • Small acute wounds at low risk of infection
  • Patients who are sensitive to any of the dressing components
  • Wounds being treated with enzymatic debridement
  • During pregnancy or lactation
  • When contra-indicated by the manufacturer, for example, some manufacturers recommend that their silver dressings are not used during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or on/near body sites undergoing radiotherapy
Last updated: 30-01-2020


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