Progress of Surgical Dressing Development
The development of advanced surgical dressings has allowed healthcare providers to optimize patient outcomes and procedural efficiency. Much recent innovation has focused on reducing rates of surgical site infection (SSI) due to its seriousness and financial impact. Antimicrobial dressings help minimize such complications and encourage optimal healing during post‐operative wound management.
The gold‐standard for SSI detection is daily, direct observation of the surgical site.¹
Until recently, available antimicrobial surgical dressings made monitoring incision sites difficult. Non‐transparent antimicrobial dressings provided no way to assess the incision without dressing replacement, which is often painful for patients and costly for facilities. This meant that providers had to choose between adequately monitoring the site for complications or minimizing patient pain and risk of skin injury.
Fortunately, transparent antimicrobial dressings provide a solution to those issues. This design allows incision sites to be monitored without dressing disruption while still leveraging antimicrobial properties to reduce site contamination and microbial growth. Avoiding unnecessary dressing replacement also helps avoid related costs.
ReliaTect: Transparent, Antimicrobial‐Coated Post‐Op Surgical Dressing
Eloquest Healthcare®, Inc. offers ReliaTect® Post‐Op Dressing with CHG, a sterile post‐operative dressing composed of a polyurethane film coated in chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) acrylic adhesive.
- Telehealth can be facilitated: Patients can send incision photos to their healthcare provider or perform site assessments by video call without removing the dressing.
- Partners can be leveraged for Post‐Op Care: Patients and caregivers are directly involved in post‐operative care since they can monitor the incision without removing the dressing.
- Microbial growth can be reduced: Antimicrobial properties help prevent site contamination and microbial growth within the dressing.²
Improved Patient and Provider Satisfaction
ReliaTect has been proven to increase patient and provider satisfaction. A study of post‐partum cesarean care found that women who received ReliaTect were more satisfied and reported higher health‐related quality of life scores than those who received standard wound care. Positive feedback was also obtained from healthcare providers.
ReliaTect improved patient outcomes by boosting self‐esteem, personal hygiene, and body image. Patients reported better sleep, were able to shower earlier than those treated with standard dressings, and had an easier time completing daily activities.³
Patients reported less incisional pain and odor when treated with ReliaTect. The transparent film facilitated incision site assessment, and providers observed less wound dressing leakage as well.³ By allowing site assessment without dressing replacement, ReliaTect supports both hospital cost avoidance and greater flexibility in treatment plans.
ReliaTect is coated with chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG), an active antimicrobial agent that has been used worldwide as an antiseptic since 1954.⁴ CHG is the standard of care for infection prevention in healthcare facilities due to its efficacy and long history of safe use.⁵ CHG distinguishes ReliaTect from other transparent post‐op dressings.²
ReliaTect outperforms other transparent dressings due to its antimicrobial properties.²
A 2019 article by Mana et al comparing similar transparent dressings— one with CHG and one without— found that CHG dressings are far more effective at preventing MRSA wound contamination. MRSA was not detected in ReliaTect covered wounds, but the recovery from wounds treated with non‐CHG transparent dressing was 4.2 log10 cfu/g. This was noted to be worse than the outcome of wounds treated with gauze dressing. ReliaTect outperformed both the placebo and the gauze dressing.²
Patient/Caregiver Partners in Post‐Op Care
Since ReliaTect does not need to be removed for incision assessment, patients and caregivers can partner in post‐op care by monitoring the wound in hospital and home settings. This empowers patients and loved ones by allowing them to take an active role in their recovery. Surgical discharge orders and patient education can help prepare patients and caregivers for their responsibilities like watching for signs of infection.
Although some patients may not want to see the incision, their participation is a vital part of an optimal recovery. Other patients may feel compelled to constantly check the wound—with non‐transparent dressings, that would have involved disrupting the dressing. Picking at dressings greatly increases the risk of contamination from hands or fingernails. ReliaTect’s transparent film minimizes this risk factor because patients can see exactly what is going on at the incision site without touching the dressing.
Eloquest Healthcare offers products that make post‐op care easier for both patients and providers, improving level of care and quality of life during recovery. For more information about the unique benefits of ReliaTect® Post-Op Dressing with CHG, please contact your Eloquest Healthcare® sales consultant, or request a follow-up here.
1. Anderson DJ, Podgorny K, Berrior‐Torres SI, et al. Strategies to prevent surgical site infections in acute care hospitals: 2014 update. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2014;35:605‐27.
2. Mana TSC, Donskey C, Carty N, Perry L, Leaper D, Edmiston CE Jr,. Preliminary analysis of the antimicrobial activity of a postoperative wound dressing containing chlorhexidine gluconate against methicillin‐resistant Staphylococcus aureus in an in vivo porcine incisional wound model. Am J Infect Control. 2019 Sep;47(9):1048‐1052. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2019.05.012. Epub 2019 Jul 2. PMID: 31277998.
3. Saad AF, Salazar AE, Allen L, Saade GR. Antimicrobial Dressing versus Standard Dressing in Obese Women Undergoing Cesarean Delivery: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Am J Perinatol. 2020 Dec 2. doi: 10.1055/s‐0040‐1721112. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33264808
4. Krishna MT, Huissoon A. Peri‐operative anaphylaxis: Beyond drugs and latex. Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2015;167:101‐21.
5. ChlorhexidineFacts.com website. http://www.chlorhexidinefacts.com/themolecule. html. Accessed April 6, 2021.