BLOG 8: Types of bandages according to their function.

BLOG 8: Types of bandages according to their function.

In the last post, we discussed one of the ways to classify bandages, which is based on the materials used in the bandages and their composition. In today’s post we will discuss a different classification based on the function of the bandage. But first, let’s summarize the different functions for which bandages are used:

Uses of bandages

Nowadays, bandages are commonly used by healthcare professionals in the hospital, physiotherapy and veterinary sectors. This is why there are so many different types of bandages and such a variety of purposes for which they are used.

Some of the most common uses of bandages are:

  • Supporting a wound: after an operation it is often necessary to use a support bandage to prevent stitches or recently closed wounds from reopening.
  • Securing dressings or splints: both dressings and splints are usually accompanied by a bandage to keep them in place.
  • Protection against mechanical injuries or bacteria: in parallel with the first function, some bandages are applied as a protective layer to protect the wound from blows, friction or external infections.
  • Stop hemorrhages: in the case of these wounds, a compressive bandage is often necessary to stop or reduce bleeding.
  • Improve venous return, as in the case of venous ulcers that appear on the lower limbs of the body. In this way, the bandage supports the body’s blood circulation to allow the blood to circulate correctly.
  • Immobilization of joints, either partially or totally: in the case of bone cracks, fractures or muscle tears, one of the treatments involves the use of immobilization bandages that allow the affected area to recover.

 

Classification according to the function of the bandage

After observing the uses indicated in the previous section, bandages can be grouped into four basic functions, fixation and support bandages, compression bandages, padding bandages and immobilization bandages.

 

  1. Fixation and support bandages

These types of bandages are mainly used to support wounds, to secure dressings and/or splints and to protect areas of the body from mechanical injury or infection. Some of the bandages used for these purposes include gauze bandages, crepe bandages, elastic bandages, cohesive bandages or tubular support bandages.

Gauze bandages

Elastic bandages

Crepe bandages

Cohesive bandages

Tubular support bandages

 

2.Compression bandages

These are used to stop bleeding and to improve venous return, as in the case of venous ulcers. They are also used for semi-rigid immobilization of a limb.

 

The most commonly used compression bandages include compression bandages themselves, tubular compression bandages and some types of crepe bandages.

Elastic bandages 

Crepe bandages

Tubular compression

In terms of bandages intended to perform a compression function, especially in the case of compression bandages for the treatment of venous ulcers, it should be mentioned that there are kits that combine everything necessary to perform this compressive treatment according to the patient’s needs. These are called compression kits and will be discussed in more detail in future blog posts.

 

3.Padding bandages

When we talk about a padding bandage, we are referring to bandages that are used prior to a more aggressive bandage and which aim to protect the skin or joint from the main bandage. Among the main padding bandages we find pre-tapes, crepe paper bandages and padding bandages, the last being the most common in most cases.

Venda de espuma (Pre-tape)

Foam bandages (pretape)

Venda tubular de compresión

Padding bandages

Venda de crepe

Crepe paper bandages

4.Immobilization bandages

The aim of immobilization bandages is to limit the mobility of a joint, either partially or completely. In this way, a damaged area can be restored or painful movements can be avoided.

Venda de yeso

Plaster of Paris

Venda tubular de compresión

Fiberglass bandages

As we can see, there are a multitude of bandages and their uses are quite varied. It should also be noted that the classification of bandages is quite subjective so it is not surprising that there are different classifications. However, in today’s entry we have tried to bring together the most widely used criteria.

 

Produced by the Technical Department of Calvo Izquierdo S.L.

with the collaboration of Carmen Alba Moratilla.

 

Bibliography:

  • Fundamentals of Nursing. Kozier & Erb
  • Vendajes e inmovilizaciones. Manual de bolsillo para enfermería Cristina Gomez Enriquez M1 Jose Rodriguez (https://www.picuida.es/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Manual-Venajes-Jerez.pdf)
  • El vendaje funcional. Toni Bové (http://udocente.sespa.princast.es/documentos/El%20vendaje%20funcional.pdf)

 

BLOG 5 Compression bandages

BLOG 5 Compression bandages

Therapeutic compression bandaging is a very important topic and the subject of much debate within the health sector. In the previous blog post, we discussed bandage elasticity, and as we will see in this post, compression is one of the physically measurable parameters that characterize the elastic behavior that governs medical compression.

What is compression?

The dictionary tells us that compression is “pressure to which a body is subjected by the action of opposing forces that tend to reduce its volume.” If we apply this to the case of bandages, we are talking about the active action exerted by a bandage when it is applied to a limb by means of the action of the professional who performs the bandaging and/or the compression of the bandage itself.

In this definition can be found another basic concept necessary to understand bandage compression, which is that compression can be generated in two different ways: first, there is the compression generated by the health professional when applying the bandage and, second, the compression produced by the bandage itself due to the composition of its yarn.

If a health professional applies a compressive bandage that is not very elastic, but exerts pressure when doing so, this bandage will be a compression bandage where the pressure is exerted by the health professional.

If a health professional applies a bandage using hardly any pressure and stretching the bandage only 25%, with a bandage made of elastic and compressive yarn, the bandage will generate compression as time goes by because it will try to return to its initial length and will compress the bandaged area.

As we have seen, we are analyzing two very different bandages, but both generating compression.

While compression can be achieved with any type of bandage, if what we are looking for is a therapeutic effect, we must pay attention to two aspects. On the one hand, there are the laws of physics that govern it, such as Laplace’s Law (interface pressure) and Pascal’s Law (transmission of pressure to the subcutaneous tissue), which we will discuss in later blog posts. And on the other hand, there are the parameters that control it, such as elasticity, hysteresis and stiffness, which we will deal with in a very general way in this post.

Parameters governing medical compression

Compression in bandages is determined by the three parameters that govern it: elasticity, hysteresis and stiffness.

Figure 5.1 Triangle of properties governing medical compression (hysteresis, elasticity and stiffness)

First there is elasticity, which is considered a parameter within that of compression, as well as one of its properties already discussed in previous blogs. We will not dwell too much on elasticity here, but simply mention that it is the ability of a bandage to stretch and return to its normal position. This should not be confused with saying that an elastic bandage generates compression. An elastic bandage may or may not generate compression; greater elasticity does not necessarily mean greater compression, nor the opposite.

The next key property is hysteresis. In clinical terms, hysteresis is the ability of the bandage to return to its initial elongation once it has ceased to undergo the stimulus that generated its stretching. This parameter is also known as “rebound or resilience”.

In relation to hysteresis, Professor Partsch refers to it as a measure of the loss of energy that occurs between loading (stretching) and unloading (relaxation). Yarns with minimal hysteresis are the best because they have maximum holding power with minimal resistance to stretching.

Figure 5.2 Hysteresis curves of different bandage materials

As can be seen in Figure 5.2, to achieve the same level of pressure on the leg (blue dashed line), elastic bandages (right) need more stretch than inelastic bandages (left). At the same time, highly elastic bandages have a higher hysteresis than less elastic bandages. This means that inelastic bandages, when you exert force and then stop exerting force, behave the same and stretch the same. This symmetrical behavior is positive when it comes to therapeutic compression treatments.

Finally, there is the property of stiffness. When we talk about stiffness in compression bandages, it refers to the resistance of the bandage itself to lengthening or shortening when the muscular volume of the compressed area increases. An example would be the case of venous ulcer bandages where the stiffness would be the resistance of the bandage to stretching when the calf muscle increases in volume when walking, or with exercise.

Produced by the Technical Department of Calvo Izquierdo S.L.

With the collaboration of Carmen Alba Moratilla.

 

Bibliography:

– https://dle.rae.es/compresi%C3%B3n

– Partsch H, Rabe E, Stemmer R. Compression therapy of the extremities. Paris: Editions Phlébologiques Françaises; 1999.) (1) (2)

– A. Coull, D. Tolson, and J. Mcintosh. Class-3c compression bandaging for venous ulcers: comparison of spiral and figure-of-eight techniques. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 54(3):274–283, May 2006

– Partsch, Hugo. (2014). Compression for the management of venous leg ulcers: Which material do we have? Phlebology / Venous Forum of the Royal Society of Medicine. 29. 140-145. 10.1177/0268355514528129

    BLOG 3: Latex and latex-free bandages

    BLOG 3: Latex and latex-free bandages

    Latex in bandages has been a common compound for many years, but over the last few decades its use has been declining. The main problem with latex is that it provokes an allergic reaction in some people, causing serious harm that may even produce asphyxia in some rare cases.

    Bandages with latex

    Latex is a derivative of natural rubber that contains certain enzymes that can be allergic to a certain percentage of the population. In the last two decades, latex allergy has become a health problem of worldwide relevance. It has been estimated that between 0.3 and 1% of the general population is allergic to this substance. In most cases, this allergy generates a very mild reaction with itching or reddening of the skin, but in a small percentage of cases the patient may suffer an anaphylactic reaction that may even result in death.

    In other countries there are specific products with latex, but in Spain, as well as in the rest of Europe, the authorities are trying to phase it out. What latex provides are certain properties that are very desirable in the manufacturing of some bandages:

    • Elasticity: latex is found in some natural yarns such as rubber and these yarns have good elasticity.
    • Cohesiveness: latex has the property that it adheres to itself but not to skin or tissues, allowing a more stable, durable and consistent hold and support, while permitting the removal of the bandage to be easy and painless.
    • Compactness: in some bandages such as plaster casts, latex is used to provide consistency and allow for a more rigid bandage.

    Latex is still used in the veterinary field, which does not impose a specific “latex-free” rule, unlike the healthcare sector.

    Latex-free bandages

    To avoid using elastic yarns containing natural rubber and latex, the Dupont company developed a very thin but highly elastic yarn: elastane or spandex. This yarn is the latex-free version of the rubber yarns used years ago. To learn more about the yarns most commonly used in the manufacture of bandages, visit our post: What types of yarns are used in bandages?

    Regarding the manufacture of cohesive bandages, the transition has also been progressive but steady. Currently, to replace latex, several latex-free components are being used, such as polyisoprene, which, although it endows the bandages with the same cohesive properties, being synthetic it does not contain latex.

    As we have been able to appreciate in this post, the use of latex is being phased out, especially in the medical sector and for bandages for humans. In the next post we will discuss different types of bandages, noting the presence or absence of this component, as it has become a very important characteristic to consider.

    Prepared by the technical department of Calvo Izquierdo S.L.

    with the collaboration of Carmen Alba Moratilla

    Bibliography