Absorbable Gelatin Dressing Change 

An absorbable gelatin sponge is a material used in fresh open wounds to stop bleeding. It's put directly on the base of the wound and helps the blood form a clot. Another bandage is put on top of the dressing to protect it and keep it in place. 

The material that touches the wound base will dissolve or fall off with the scab. Any material that’s left may be taken off during a follow-up visit.

Cross section of skin with wound showing absorbable gelatin sponge dressing.

Home care

These guidelines will help you care for your wound at home:

Dressing care

Keep the dressing dry until the next dressing change or visit with your healthcare provider. Bathe with your dressing out of the water, protected with a large, rubber-banded or taped plastic bag, if it's on an extremity. Be careful that the rubber bands are not too tight, cutting off circulation. If the dressing is can't be covered with a bag, you may need to only take a sponge bath around it. If the dressing becomes wet, it will need to be changed.

Changing the dressing

If you were advised to change the dressing at home:

  • Wash your hands.

  • Remove the outer bandage covering the absorbable dressing.

  • The outer bandage might stick to the absorbable dressing because of blood in the bandage. If that happens, gently run warm water over the dressing until the dried blood softens and you can peel the outer bandage away. Be careful not to pull the absorbable dressing off the wound. 

  • If the warm water method alone doesn't work to loosen the bandage, you may pour hydrogen peroxide over the dressing. This will help soften the dried blood. 

  • If this doesn’t work and you are having trouble, return to this facility and let us replace the dressing for you.

  • After you have removed the bandage, rinse the wound area with soap and water. Look at the area around the wound for redness, swelling, or pus.  

  • Put an antibiotic ointment over the absorbable dressing to keep it from sticking to the new bandage. Put on another bandage or large adhesive bandage.

Other precautions

  • No tub baths or swimming until the bandage is removed and the wound is healed. This will take at least 7 days.

  • If you were given an appointment for wound check or dressing change, be sure to keep this appointment.  

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider. Most open wounds heal in 10 to 14 days. But even with proper treatment, a wound infection may sometimes occur. Be sure to check the wound every day for any signs of infection listed below.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Pain in the wound gets worse

  • Redness, swelling, or pus coming from the wound

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Bleeding that can’t be easily controlled by putting direct pressure on the wound

© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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