Petrolatum gauze is a lightweight cotton bandage that is coated with a translucent substance made from petroleum. This type of bandage is used in hospitals and other health care settings. It is a non-adherent dressing that is widely used for various types of wounds.
A skin graft is one type of wound on which petrolatum gauze is used. When a skin graft is performed, a section of healthy skin is removed from one part of the body and applied to a wound or burn on another part of the body. The skin graft will usually adhere to the cells surrounding the wound to promote faster healing. Petrolatum gauze is used to cover the skin graft to keep it moist and to promote attachment.
Some individuals will have wounds from injury or immobility. On occasion the doctor may order petrolatum gauze dressings to be used on these types of wounds. This dressing will protect the open area from bacteria. It will not stick to the healthy tissue surrounding the wound.
When an individual suffers from an injury or infection that causes air or fluid to accumulate in the space between the chest wall and the lung then the lung may collapse. This can cause severe breathing difficulties. In these cases, a small flexible tube must be inserted into the side of the chest to drain the fluid or release the air so the lung can expand. A chest tube is usually inserted as an emergency intervention by a doctor or surgeon. The tube is then connected to a drainage container that stays below the level of the chest.
The end of the chest tube lies in the space between the inner lining and outer lining of the lung. This is called the pleural space. It is important the chest tube insertion site remains sealed to prevent air leaks from occurring and rendering the chest tube useless. Petrolatum gauze may be used around the chest tube because it can seal off any leaks that may occur. When the chest tube is removed, a petrolatum gauze dressing is usually applied to the wound to prevent air and bacteria from entering.
There are very few reported side effects from the use of petrolatum gauze dressings. In rare cases, skin irritation may occur. The petrolatum in this dressing can be an eye irritant. No other side effects from the use of this type of dressing have been reported.