Bandages come in many forms, from small disposable bandages for minor cuts and wounds to surgical dressings designed to soak up blood and promote coagulation. Various materials are used to make bandages, including plastic and natural fabrics and synthetic fabrics designed for maximum breatheability. Adhesives are also used to keep bandages in place.
Plastic bandages are the most common type, and are available in various shapes and sizes, which are designed to protect wounds on specific areas of the body. They consist of a plastic strip, which is non-adhesive on the top side and sticky on the bottom side, with a cotton pad, which is intended for placement over the wound to soak up blood and allow the wound to clot so it can heal.
Cloth or woven bandages are used for deeper cuts and surgical wounds, and consist of cotton gauze pads that come pre-cut or can be cut from a roll in the desired size. This gauze pad is placed over a wound, and dressings and adhesives are used to keep it in place. Typically, cloth bandages are used on wounds that are expected to take longer to heal and must be regularly changed to ensure sterility.
Compression bandages are used to apply pressure to a wounded area, and are typically used to press down on an internal wound to promote faster healing. They are typically self-adhesive, made of blended natural and synthetic materials including cotton and latex. Non-adhesive options are also available, which are held in place with a clip.
Also known as "ace wraps," elastic bandages are made primarily of cotton that is blended with strands of elastic rubber, allowing them to be stretched across a wounded area. They are designed to apply pressure to internal tissues and are most often used for injuries to the trunk, torso or extremities.