Hydrocolloid dressings turn from solid to gel when wound fluid is absorbed. The gel creates a warm, moist environment that helps clean the wound from debris and dead tissue and promote healing. These dressings may by occlusive or semi occlusive and are supplied in sheets, paste, wafers or powders.
Advantages: Hydrocolloid dressings are good for wounds with light to moderate amounts of wound fluids. They are available in many forms (adhesive or non-adhesive pad, paste, powder) but most commonly as self-adhesive pads.
Hydrocolloids reduce wound pain, and their barrier properties allow the patient to bathe or shower. If transparent, this allows for observation of the healing process.
Hydrocolloids may be used as primary or secondary dressings. A primary dressing is the first dressing that covers a wound. It is placed directly on top of the wound to cover it and to manage any oozing or bleeding. A secondary dressing covers the primary dressing. The primary dressing's purpose is to be absorbent and nonadhering.
Hydrocolloids may be used over partial or full-thickness wounds. Partial thickness wounds are wounds that extend only into the first two layers of skin, which are the dermis and epidermis. Full thickness wounds are wounds that extend beyond the two layers of skin (dermis and epidermis) and go into the subcutaneous tissue (muscle and fat) or even all the way to the bone or tendons.
These dressings are appropriate to use on wounds with light to moderate drainage. In some instances, hydrocolloids may be used on wound beds covered with eschar to promote autolytic debridement. Autolysis uses the body's own enzymes and moisture to re-hydrate, soften and finally liquefy hard eschar and slough. Eschar is defined as a black, dry and leathery and may form a thick covering similar to a scab over the wound bed below it.
Since multi-layer compression is commonly utilized in a wound clinic, hydrocolloids are advantageous as they can be applied underneath as primary dressings as long as the wound is not infected.
Disadvantages: Do not use hydrocolloids on wounds with heavy exudate, sinus tracts, infections or hypoxic wounds. Routinely monitor fragile peri-wound skin as the hydrocolloid may cause breakdown due to moisture. Hydrocolloids should not be used over exposed tendon, bone or 3rd degree burns.
Do not use if dressing needs to be changed more than every 3 days
Use with caution on wounds that require frequent inspection (e.g, diabetic foot ulcers due to increased risk of infection)
Pricing and Suppliers
Is it covered by Medicare Part B?
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers specific types of dressings (such as hydrocolloid dressings), that are considered medically necessary for treatment of a surgical or surgically treated wound. Medicare has guidelines that establish what is considered medically necessary and how often an item can be used.
Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Local Coverage Determination for Surgical Dressings (L33831)
How can I purchase this product?
If you have coverage through Medicare Part B, you may be eligible to have this product covered by Medicare. You will need a written order prescribed by a provider enrolled in Medicare, so that you can purchase this product at a Durable Medical Equipment store that accepts Medicare. You will need to pay deductibles and co-payment. The actual co-payment amount varies according to your state. If you do not have Medicare Part B or do not meet the requirements needed for coverage, you can find this product at pharmacies and medical supply stores. When available, please see pricing in "Other Stores" below.
The table below shows highest and lowest Medicare pricing across the country
|Description||Medicare DME co-payment Min / Max
|Hydrocolloid dressing, wound cover, sterile, pad size 16 sq. in. or less, with any size adhesive border, each dressing||
$1.55 / $1.82
If your insurance does not cover this product, you can purchase it directly from any store. A list of online stores and prices is provided below for your convenience. For updated prices, find it on the internet at https://woundreference.com/app/product?id=1814
||Free with Prime||
* Indicates whether store accepts Medicare or commercial insurance, but may not apply to this specific product. See coding, coverage and reimubursement for more information.
The information on this handout is for your convenience and educational purposes only. All product claims and specifications are those of the product suppliers. It does not constitute medical advice or a guarantee for reimbursement. Prices may have changed and suppliers may not have product in stock. Please confirm accuracy and appropriateness of information with insurance carrier and product supplier. Clinician and WoundReference assume no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements about products and insurance coverage.