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What is Xeroform™ Gauze?

By Christina Whyte
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Xeroform™ gauze is a type of medical dressing consisting of finely woven mesh medical gauze infused with a blend of petrolatum and 3% Bismuth Tribromophenate. It is used for open wounds such as lacerations, burns, new circumcisions, and surgical incisions. This gauze is particularly useful as a dressing because it is non-adherent, meaning it won't stick to wounds, and it has antiseptic and antibacterial qualities that help keep wounds from becoming infected. Xeroform™ is a popular dressing because it is easy to use and is effective in the management of many different types of open wounds.

Medical gauze dressings can be infused with a variety of substances to treat wounds. Plain dry gauze can easily stick to wounds, causing more trauma and pain to the patient when dressings are changed. Gauze saturated with a moist or wet ointment is normally used to maintain a healthy and hydrated wound bed so that wounds can heal effectively and dressings can be changed without causing unnecessary discomfort. One of the substances medical gauze can be saturated with is the petroleum-derived, gelatinous substance petrolatum, which can be blended with other substances to form ointments.

It is important that Xeroform™ gauze dressings are trimmed to fit the wound, or maceration of healthy skin surrounding the wound can occur. In terms of wound care, maceration refers to the softening and breakdown of healthy skin after it has been exposed to moisture for too long a period of time. This can make the treatment of a wound more difficult because macerated skin is prone to damage or infection. It is standard procedure in wound care to try and prevent maceration by using dressings appropriately and changing them at the intervals recommended by the dressing manufacturer.

Xeroform™ dressings are designed for light exudative wounds, wounds that are leaking a small amount of plasma and blood cells, such as minor burns, surgical incisions, and skin biopsy sites. They are not designed for wounds with a heavy exudation rate. Other dressings, such as alginates, have been specifically designed for wounds with a lot of leakage. It is also possible to have or develop sensitivity to Bismuth Tribromophenate, in which case this gauze would not be the correct wound dressing choice. Patients may be sent home with Xeroform™ gauze dressings in place after surgical procedures or treatment for wounds, and should ask their healthcare provider for instructions on wound aftercare using this dressing.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By googie98 — On Jul 01, 2011

@wesley91- I work as a nurse in the burn unit at our local hospital. I can't even count the number of times we have heard the same thing. Every now and then, insurance companies will pay for different types of petroleum gauze but not very often.

You were very lucky to have such a wonderful doctor to supply you with all the Xeroform you needed!

By wesley91 — On Jun 30, 2011

Several years ago, my son and I were in a bad car accident. He lost three fingers on his left hand and suffered road rash pretty bad. After a long stay in the hospital, we finally got to go home. The nurses gave us a big supply of Xeroform gauze because we had to use it daily on my sons' wounds.

The doctor wrote us a prescription for the Xeroform because we were to be using it for quite some time. He said that if we had a prescription, we could get it at a medical supply company and the insurance would pay for it. Unfortunately, our insurance would not cover the Xeroform, even with the prescription.

I could not afford to pay for it because it was pretty pricey. I called the doctor's office and explained the situation and they told me to come to the office. When I got there, they had me a box with more Xeroform than I could ever need. They were such a blessing to me and my son!

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