|Adaptic petroleum impregnated sponge. (from: Amazon.com)|
Petroleum impregnated gauze sponges (e.g., Adaptic sponges) are non-adherent gauze sheets that can be used on open wounds in dogs and cats. They are considered semi-occlusive; they allow absorption of fluid without adhering to the wound surface. These sponges provide moisture and protect the delicate cells on the wound surface.
Adaptic sponges are a good choice for wounds that have already established a healthy granulation bed and do not require any further debridement. Since they allow some absorption of fluid be sure to apply cast padding as the second layer of the bandage. They can be left on 2-3 days, giving owners a more convenient schedule for outpatient visits. They are less painful to remove than wet to dry dressings and thus the patient may not require sedation for bandage changes.
One study found that petroleum impregnated sponges were superior to other non-adherent dressings in encouraging wound contraction.(1) However, they inhibited epitheliazation of wounds to a greater degree than the other materials investigated. Although this is considered a disadvantage of the sponges, I have seen wounds in many clinical cases epithelialize completely while using them.
Petroleum sponges cost a fraction of some other non-adherent wound coverings. A 3 X 3 inch sterile Adaptic sponge costs roughly 50 cents per sheet compared to hydrocolloid dressings that can cost several times that amount. Another advantage is that the Adaptic sponge can be trimmed to match the size and shape of the wound.
Comparison to Telfa Pads
Over the years I have found that many veterinarians and vet students are unaware of the advantages of these types of sponges. Telfa pads seem to be more recognized and used as non-adherent primary layer of bandages. I find that Telfa pads are much too occlusive; they trap exudate next to the wound surface rather than absorbing it into the bandage. Petroleum sponges are much more absorptive than Telfa pads and are a option better for open wounds.
Petroleum gauze sponges provide a good option for the management of the final stage of wound healing of non-infected granulating wounds. Surgical reconstruction of the wound can then be considered if feasible.