Alginates and Hydrofibres

photos: Riepe, Bültemann

alginat tamponade

alginat may be plucked to fit the wound

alginat may be covered only by foil


- consist of fibres of brown algae (Phaeophyceae),
- have a white-yellowish colour (in German compared with the "hair of an angel")
- donate calcium ions, take up sodium ions and transform to a gel by binding water
- absorb cellular detritus and bacteria
- have a potentiating effect on coagulation by platelet activation

- consist of sodium-carboxy-methyl-cellulose
- transform into a stabile gel
- take up water vertically (edge protection)


- slough covered, moderately exsuding wounds
- small cavity wounds
- split skin donor sites


- dry wounds
- exposed tendons and bones
(danger of dehydration)
- infection (s. antiseptics) and PAD grade IV
- deep wound cavities and fistula
(danger of loss of material)


- alginates may be plucked or cut
- wound cavities should be filled loosely
- alginates should not reach over the edge of the wound (except hydrofibres)
- when changing the dressing remove the alginate completely, rinse it thoroughly out of cavities
- painless removal


- low exuadtion: alginate and foil
- moderate exudation: alginate, gauze or absorbent wound pads and foil
- heavy exudation: alginate and foam
(caution: gel may occlude the pores of dressings, retain uptake of water and lead to maceration of the wound edge)

Change of dressing

- Exudation phase: every 1 to 3 days
- Granulation phase: up to 7 days

Link to producers

gelinated alginat is difficult recognise

complete removal

hydrofibres take up water vertically

The WundUhr® - WoundWatch - offers an orienting productneutral overview of the basics of phase appropiate modern wound treatment. For further information about the dressing materials we recommend to consult the manufacturers. The missing improvement of a wound within 14 days must lead to the search of an overlooked source.

WundUhr® Design and text: Gunnar Riepe, Anke Bültemann
Webdesign: Gunnar Riepe, 56076 Koblenz, mail:, © 2011