SMTL Dressings Datacard

Product Name: Debrisan beads
Classification Name: Dressing Polysaccharide Beads
Manufacturer: Pharmacia and Upjohn Ltd


Debrisan consists of sterile, pale yellow dextranomer beads, 0.1-0.3 mm in diameter. When introduced into an exuding wound, one gram of the beads will absorb up to four grams of exudate. It has been shown that bacteria and cellular debris present in the wound are taken up by capillary action and become trapped in the spaces between the beads. When the dressing is changed, this debris will be washed away. The beads, which have a high suction pressure (up to 200 mmHg), have been claimed to reduce local tissue oedema and control odour formation.


Debrisan is intended for use in the treatment of small wounds containing soft yellow slough including infected surgical or post-traumatic wounds, pressure sores, and leg ulcers.


Debrisan should not be used on dry or lightly exuding wounds for in these situations there is a possibility that the beads may dry out and form a crust, which may be difficult to remove. Debrisan beads should not be applied near the eye. or used in the treatment of deep narrow wounds or sinuses from which removal may be difficult.

Method of use

A layer of beads not less than 3 mm thick, is applied to the wound and covered with a suitable pad or dressing retention material such as a semipermeable film dressing. Exudate from the wound is drawn up into the beads, which should be changed before they become fully saturated. This is best accomplished by irrigating the wound with sterile water or normal saline, using a syringe. Once the wound has been cleansed, a new layer of beads is applied while the area is still moist.

Frequency of Change

The frequency of dressing changes will depend upon the nature of the wound. Initially, twice daily changes may be required but subsequently, daily changes or changes on alternate days may be sufficient.


Debrisan should not be applied to dry wounds, and the use of the product in the management of more heavily exuding wounds should be discontinued as granulation takes place and exudate production decreases.

Occasionally, transient pain in the area of the wound has been reported following the application of Debrisan. This may generally be avoided by ensuring that the wound is moistened well before the dressing is applied.

The use of an occlusive dressing with Debrisan is not recommended, as this may lead to maceration of the skin around the wound. In order to prevent the possibility of cross-infection, the manufacturers recommend that a drum of Debrisan beads should be reserved for the treatment of a single patient. Spillage of the beads can render surfaces very slippery. Any that are spilt should be cleared up immediately.


Debrisan is available in a plastic drum (castor)


Debrisan should be stored in a dry place in well-closed containers.


60 g castor

Legal Category

Pharmacy Only [P]


1. Soul J, A trial of Debrisan in the cleansing of infected surgical wounds, Br. J. clin. Pract., 1978, 32, 172-173.

2. Parish LC, et al., Decubitus ulcers: a comparative study, Cutis, 1979, 23, 106-110.

3. Hulkko A, et al., Comparison of Dextranomer and streptokinase-streptodornase in the treatment of venous leg ulcers and other infected wounds. Ann. Chir. Gynaec., 1981, 70, 65-70.

Revision Details

Revision AuthorDr S. Thomas
Revision No 1.7
Revision date2003/03/27

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.

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Last Modified: Thursday, 27-Mar-2003 12:36:23 GMT