SMTL Dressings Datacard

Product Name: Aquacel
Classification Name: Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose Primary Wound Dressing
Manufacturer: ConvaTec


Aquacel is a primary wound dressing made from sodium carboxymethylcellulose.


It is produced as a textile fibre and presented in the form of a fleece held together by a needle bonding process, and is available both as a `ribbon' for packing cavities, and as a flat non-woven pad for application to larger open wounds.

The dressing absorbs and interacts with wound exudate to form a soft, hydrophilic, gas-permeable gel that traps bacteria and conforms to the contours of the wound whilst providing a micro-environment that is believed to facilitate healing.


Aquacel sheets may be applied to exuding lesions including leg ulcers, pressure areas, donor sites, and most other granulating wounds, but for deeper cavity wounds and sinuses the ribbon packing is generally preferred. The dressing is easy to remove without causing pain or trauma, and leaves minimal residue on the surface of the wound.


Although there are no known contra-indications to the use of Aquacel, the dressing will be of little value if applied to wounds that are very dry, or covered with hard black necrotic tissue.

Method of use

An Aquacel dressing, chosen to be slightly larger than the area of the wound, is placed in intimate contact with the wound base and covered with a sterile secondary dressing held in place with surgical tape or a bandage as appropriate.

On lightly exuding wounds it is possible to apply the dressing then gently moisten the area directly over the wound with sterile water or saline. The nature of the secondary dressing will be governed by the condition of the wound. If large quantities of exudate are anticipated, a simple absorbent dressing pad may be required; but as the wound heals and less exudate is produced, a thinner pad bearing a plastic film of low adherence may help to conserve moisture and prevent the wound drying out too quickly.

Deeper cavity wounds or sinuses may be dressed with Aquacel Ribbon, which should be placed gently in position but not packed in too tightly. It is recommended that only about 80% of the cavity should be filled with the dressing to accommodate swelling, and that a short length of ribbon be left to overhang the wound margin to facilitate removal.

Because of the needling process used in its construction, the dressing has significant wet strength, which means that it can be easily removed from a wound in one piece, a process that may be facilitated by irrigation with water or sterile normal saline. This may be accomplished without causing either damage to the wound or pain to the patient.

Frequency of Change

The interval between dressing changes will depend entirely upon the state of the wound. and the nature of the secondary dressing. Aquacel applied to heavily exuding or sloughy wounds may need replacing daily initially, but as healing progresses and the amount of exudate decreases, the interval between changes may be extended to up to 7 days in some circumstances. At this stage a change to an alternative dressing - such as a film product , should be considered to conserve moisture.


Wounds that show signs of clinical infection may be dressed with Aquacel but the dressing should be changed daily and the use of systemic antibiotic therapy considered. The dressing should not be used on patients with a known sensitivity to this dressing or one of its components.


The dressings are presented individually packed in peel pouches, sterilised by gamma radiation.


Aquacel is available in a range of sizes as follows;

5cm x 5cm

10cm x 10cm

15cm x 15cm

20cm x 30cm

2g x 45cm ribbon


1.Armstrong SH, Ruckley CV. Use of a fibrous dressing in exuding leg ulcers. Journal of Wound Care 1997;6(7):322-4.


Further information on obtaining ConvaTec products is available on the ConvaTec web site.

Revision Details

Revision AuthorDr S. Thomas
Revision No 1.3
Revision date2006/01/23

This datacard has been prepared from data provided by the manufacturer and/or from published literature.

All materials copyright © 1992-2007 by the Surgical Materials Testing Lab. unless otherwise stated.

| Home | Datacards | Technical Publications | SMTL | World Wide Wounds | Disclaimer |
Last Modified: Monday, 23-Jan-2006 12:31:55 GMT