High porosity PEG-based hydrogel foams with self-tuning moisture balance as chronic wound dressings

Ziyang Lan, Ronit Kar, Malgorzata Chwatko, Erik Shoga, Elizabeth Cosgriff-Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A major challenge in chronic wound treatment is maintaining an appropriate wound moisture balance throughout the healing process. Wound dehydration hinders wound healing due to impeded molecule transport and cell migration with associated tissue necrosis. In contrast, wounds that produce excess fluid contain high levels of reactive oxygen species and matrix metalloproteases that impede cell recruitment, extracellular matrix reconstruction, and angiogenesis. Dressings are currently selected based on the relative amount of wound exudate with no universal dressing available that can maintain appropriate wound moisture balance to enhance healing. This work aimed to develop a high porosity poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate hydrogel foam that can both rapidly remove exudate and provide self-tuning moisture control to prevent wound dehydration. A custom foaming device was used to vary hydrogel foam porosity from 25% to 75% by adjusting the initial air-to-solution volume ratio. Hydrogel foams demonstrated substantial improvements in water uptake volume and rate as compared to bulk hydrogels while maintaining similar hydration benefits with slow dehydration rates. The hydrogel foam with the highest porosity (~75%) demonstrated the greatest water uptake and rate, which outperformed commercial dressing products, Curafoam® and Silvercel®, in water absorption, moisture retention, and exudate management. Investigation of the water vapor transmission rates of each dressing at varied hydration levels was characterized and demonstrated the dynamic moisture-controlling capability of the hydrogel foam dressing. Overall, the self-tuning moisture control of this hydrogel foam dressing holds great promise to improve healing outcomes for both dry and exudative chronic wounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-477
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • chronic wounds
  • exudate management
  • hydrogel foam
  • moisture balance
  • wound dressing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys


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