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Product File: Silver Dressings

Editor(s): Hess, Cathy Thomas BSN, RN, CWOCN

Advances in Skin & Wound Care: September 2003 - Volume 16 - Issue 5 - p 222
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A snapshot of the products you may use in practice.



Silver dressings are topical wound care products derived from ionic silver. These products release a steady amount of silver to the wound and provide antimicrobial or antibacterial action. The silver is activated from the dressing to the wound’s surface based on the amount of exudate and bacteria in the wound. Silver dressings are available as foam dressings, hydrocolloids, barrier layers, and charcoal cloth dressings. Silver dressings may be used with select topical and adjunctive therapies to decrease the bacterial load, contain exudate, and optimize the appearance of the wound’s granulation tissue.


Silver dressings may be used as primary or secondary dressings to manage minimal, moderate, or heavy exudate in acute and chronic wounds, including burns, surgical wounds, diabetic foot ulcers, pressure ulcers, and leg ulcers. Silver dressings may also be used under compression.


  • Provide a broad range of antimicrobial activity
  • Reduce infection
  • Prevent infection
  • Alter metalloproteinases within wounds


  • May cause staining on wound and intact skin
  • May cause stinging or sensitization


© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.