Significance: Wounds of all types remain one of the most important, expensive, and common medical problems, for example, up to approximately two-thirds of the work time of community nurses is spent on wound management. Many wounds are treated by means of dressings. The materials used in a dressing, their microarchitecture, and how they are composed and constructed form the basis for the laboratory and clinical performances of any advanced dressing. Recent Advances: The established structure/function principle in material science is reviewed and analyzed in this article in the context of wound dressings. This principle states that the microstructure determines the physical, mechanical, and fluid transport and handling properties, all of which are critically important for, and relevant to the, adequate performances of wound dressings. Critical Issues: According to the above principle, once the clinical requirements for wound care and management are defined for a given wound type and etiology, it should be theoretically possible to translate clinically relevant characteristics of dressings into physical test designs resulting specific metrics of materials, mechanical, and fluid transport and handling properties, all of which should be determined to meet the clinical objectives and be measurable through standardized bench testing. Future Directions: This multidisciplinary review article, written by an International Wound Dressing Technology Expert Panel, discusses the translation of clinical wound care and management into effective, basic engineering standard testing requirements from wound dressings with respect to material types, microarchitecture, and properties, to achieve the desirable performance in supporting healing and improving the quality of life of patients.
- exudate management
- fluid handling and retention
- laboratory testing methods and standards
- test fluid