How to Use Puracol Wound Dressings

Puracol Plus AG Microscaffold Collagen with Antibacterial Silver

Puracol is one of the best long-term wound care products on the market and provides some advantage over non-collagen dressings.

It is a 100% collagen wound dressing that protects against infection, decreases healing time, and increases skin regrowth. During the wound healing process, the dressing is slowly absorbed into the wound as collagen is used to rebuild the wound bed.

Puracol comes as a pad that can be cut to shape in order to fit the wound area. Some products need a secondary dressing to cover and secure them on the wound while others come as a self-contained bandage. Puracol Ag is infused with silver to kill chronic infections and antibiotic-resistant bacteria that prevent the wound from healing.

Index:

What is collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, providing the natural framework that makes up your skin, bones, tendons, and cartilage. Since collagen occurs naturally in the body, it makes an ideal scaffold to regrow new tissue.

It is a key component used in cosmetic surgery, bone grafts, skin grafts, reconstructive therapy, and other medical techniques. The collagen used in Puracol is derived from animals, usually cattle, pigs, or birds[2].

Puracol Plus:

Puracol is normally only used with severe wounds including second-degree burns, partial and full thickness wounds, skin grafts, necrotic or granulating wounds, and chronic or non-healing wounds.

Although the product comes as a white fibrous sheet, once it is in place on the wound it will become clear as exudate from the wound soaks into it. Over time, the collagen in the pad is broken down and used by the body. The dressing will disappear as it is absorbed into the wound. When you can no longer see the collagen pad it is time to change the bandage. Since Puracol Plus is broken down at the wound site, it increases wound comfort and allows a new dressing to be placed without damaging new skin growth.

In wound care, collagen has several different functions that aid in wound healing.

Puracol Plus and Puracol Ag
  1. As a scaffold protein that occurs naturally in the body, it attracts cells that promote healing and provides roads for them to travel around the wound site.
  2. In unassisted wound healing, collagen is broken down by enzymes released into the wound bed. By providing excess collagen to the wound area, Puracol negates the harmful effects of these enzymes.

NOTE: Collagen dressings do not regrow skin. Skin grafting is necessary when the skin has been removed over a large area.

Puracol Ag:

This dressing combines the collagen structure of Puracol Plus and the antibacterial properties of silver. Although silver does not directly cause wounds to heal faster, it reduces infectious bacteria numbers, lifting much of the burden from your body's own immune system.

Silver in wound care works along several mechanisms which include disrupting bacteria’s ability to form chemical bonds. Since this happens at the molecular level, antibiotic resistant bacteria and superbugs can be almost completely wiped out by silver dressings. Puracol Ag should be used when dealing with infected wounds, especially when antibiotic resistant bacteria are present[1].

Silver dressings can cause discoloration of skin around the wound area. This is harmless and usually temporary. A more severe, irreversible, body-wide skin discoloration called argyria can result from consuming silver, but silver dressings have not been shown to cause this[3].

Puracol Ag may increase blood silver levels in children with large area burns or wounds. Ask your doctor before using Puracol Ag on children[3].

How to Use:

  1. Clean the wound with saline or water.
  2. Apply a skin protectant to the healthy skin around the wound to prevent maceration.
  3. Cut the Puracol Plus or Puracol Ag pad to fit the shape of the wound.
  4. Place the dressing inside the wound area.
  5. Cover with a sterile secondary dressing.
  6. Change the dressing when the collagen has been fully absorbed into the wound bed and can no longer be seen. This usually takes from once per day to once per week depending on the wound.

When to Use:

Types of Wounds:

  1. Partial or full thickness wounds
  2. Chronic or stalled wounds
  3. Diabetic, pressure, or venous ulcers
  4. 1st and 2nd degree burns
  5. Donor sites
  6. Traumatic wounds healing by secondary intention
  7. Dehisced surgical wounds

Do Not Use on:

  1. Third-degree burns
  2. Wounds covered in dry eschar
  3. Patients with sensitivity to cow, pig, or bird products

Product Comparison:

Puracol products are indicated for many of the same wounds as other wound care products reviewed on this site including Medihoney Gel and Iodosorb Gel. Puracol is much more expensive than most other products and should therefore be used as a secondary option when other wound care products fail or as indicated by a doctor.

Puracol Plus works for stalled wounds that are not infected like venous ulcers or burns. Puracol Ag should specifically be used for infected wounds, especially if the infection is resistant to antibiotics.

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About Peter Oldani - Author of Inside First Aid

About the author

Peter Oldani graduated college with a B.S. in biomedical engineering, worked as an EMT to gain hands on experience in emergency medicine and completed active shooter training as part of New York State’s initiative to prepare civilian organizations for disaster response.