Silver Dressings and Bandages for Skin and Wound Care
Silver dressings are topical wound care bandages that have the added antimicrobial advantage of elemental silver. The silver becomes activated when exposed to wound exudate and once ionized the silver is bactericidal, or in other words, kills bacteria. Silver dressings come in many forms including foam dressings, hydrocolloids, barriers, and other cloths.
Silver dressings and bandages may be used in both acute and chronic wounds including burns, pressure ulcers, diabetic ulcers, surgical wounds, and others. Silver dressings may be used as both primary and secondary dressings.
Many clinicians will most commonly use silver dressings or bandages with silver to decrease bacterial surface contamination of a wound. They can help act as an antimicrobial or antibacterial barrier to help prevent infection of wounds particularly in high infection risk situations. They can also help decrease the overall burden of potentially harmful microbes in wounds that have already been infected or may have stopped healing due to the microbial environment.
Silver dressing use may cause a dark discoloration of the wound bed which should be distinguished from necrosis or certain infections. Additional considerations with silver dressings include not using in anyone allergic or sensitive to silver or like metals. They should also not be used on wounds undergoing enzymatic debridement for treatment. Use is generally not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women. As always, please contact your healthcare professional and wound care professional for advice, questions, or specific concerns.