Postoperative blistering

What are the demands on a surgical dressing?

By: Mölnlycke Health Care, December 19 2011Posted in: Postoperative blistering

Exudate handling

Mepilex® Border offers optimal post-surgical fluid handling with a unique five-layer design that effectively absorbs, distributes and retains exudate.


Its high retention capacity minimizes the risk of leakage and reduces the need to change the dressing as often.


Pain management

Wound pain at dressing change is known to be a devastating part of living with a chronic wound10. For acute wounds, such as surgical wounds, the number of dressing changes is fewer; however, despite this, pain at dressing change should be addressed11. Consensus11 has been reached on the key principles on how to minimize pain at dressing-related procedures: 

  • Assume all wounds are painful
  • Always assess pain
  • Select a dressing that is atraumatic

Safetac® is a unique adhesive interface that minimizes pain to patients and trauma to wounds. Dressings with Safetac hurt less because it:

  1. Tacks gently to dry surfaces, like skin, but not to moist surfaces, such as open wounds12
  2. Moulds to the skin’s pores, covering more skin surface and spreading peel forces on removal to prevent skin stripping13
  3. Seals the wound margins, minimizing the spread of exudate and the risk of maceration14,15



  1. Postoperative wound blistering - Is there a link with dressing usage? WC vol 11 nu 7; S.K. Gupta et al, 2002.
  2. Eliminating Blister Formation in Post-operative Orthopedic Patients. Eliminating blister formation in post-operative adult orthopedic patients | CPIP Project Batch 18 | Copyright © 2008 National University Health System. Margaret Lee, 2008.
  3. Prospective, randomised, controlled trial comparing wound dressings used in hip and knee surgery: Aquacel and Tegaderm versus Cultiplast. Ann R Coll Surg Engl 2006; 88: 1, 18-22. M.J. Ravenscroft et al, 2006.
  4. Wound blisters post hip surgery: a Prospective trial comparing dressings. ANZ J Surg 2002, 72(10): 716–19. N. Lawrentschuk et al, 2002.
  5. A one hospital study of the effect of wound dressings and other related factors on skin blistering following total hip and knee arthroplasty. J Orthopaedic Nurs 2000; 4: 2, 71-77. R. Jester, et al, 2000.
  6. Choice of dressing has a major impact on blistering and healing outcomes in orthopaedic patients. J Wound Care 2005; 14: 1, 27-29. T. Cosker et al. 2005
  7. Addressing Post Surgical Wound Blistering. Poster Presentation at TVS Congress, UK. Sutton J et al 2011.
  8. An investigation into the prevention of blistering in post-operative wounds. Poster presentation at the EWMA conference, Brussels, Belgium. K Ousey et al, 2011.
  9. Preventing maceration with a soft silicone dressing: in-vitro evaluations. Poster presentation at the 3rd Congress of the WUWHS, Toronto, Canada, 2008: Wiberg AB et al.
  10. Price, P. et al. Dressing Related Pain in Patients with Chronic Wounds; an International Patient Perspective. International Wound Journal, 2008.
  11. Price, P. et al. Managing painful chronic wounds: the Wound Pain Management Model. International Wound Journal, 2007.
  12. White R. Evidence for atraumatic soft silicone wound dressing use. Wounds UK; 2005.
  13. White R. A Multinational survey of the assessment of pain when removing dressings. Wounds UK, 2008.
  14. White R. Evidence for atraumatic soft silicone wound dressing use. Wounds UK, 2005.
  15. Dykes PJ et al. Effects of adhesive dressings on the stratum corneum of the skin. Journal of Wound Care 2001.
  16. Effect of dressing choice on outcomes after hip and knee arthroplasty: a literature review. J Wound Care  2009 Nov;18(11):449-50. Tustanowski J. 2009.
  17. An assessment of a self-adherent, soft silicone dressing in post-operative wound care following hip and knee arthroplasty: Poster presentation at the EWMA conference Brussels, Belgium: Catharina Johansson et al; 2011.
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